Simultaneous continuous wave Doppler echocardiography and right-sided cardiac pressure measurements were performed during cardiac catheterization in 127 patients. Tricuspid regurgitation was detected by the Doppler method in 117 patients and was of adequate quality to analyze in 111 patients. Maximal systolic pressure gradient between the right ventricle and right atrium was 11 to 136 mm Hg (mean 53 +/- 29) and simultaneously measured Doppler gradient was 9 to 127 mm Hg (mean 49 +/- 26); for these two measurements, r = 0.96 and SEE = 7 mm Hg. Right ventricular systolic pressure was estimated by three methods from the Doppler gradient. These were 1) Doppler gradient + mean jugular venous pressure; 2) using a regression equation derived from the first 63 patients (Group 1); and 3) Doppler gradient + 10. These methods were tested on the remaining 48 patients with Doppler-analyzable tricuspid regurgitation (Group 2). The correlation between Doppler-estimated and catheter-measured right ventricular systolic pressure was similar using all three methods; however, the regression equation produced a significantly better estimate (p less than 0.05). Use of continuous wave Doppler blood flow velocity of tricuspid regurgitation permitted determination of the systolic pressure gradient across the tricuspid valve and the right ventricular systolic pressure. This noninvasive technique yielded information comparable with that obtained at catheterization. Approximately 80% of patients with increased and 57% with normal right ventricular pressure had analyzable Doppler tricuspid regurgitant velocities that could be used to accurately predict right ventricular systolic pressure.