Echo-Doppler evaluation of left ventricular impairment in chronic cor pulmonale

Chest. 1996 Jun;109(6):1446-51. doi: 10.1378/chest.109.6.1446.


The effects of acute right ventricular (RV) pressure and volume overloads on left ventricular (LV) filling are well known, while the significance of chronic RV pressure overload on LV function has been less studied. To evaluate the LV impairment, 30 patients with chronic cor pulmonale and pulmonary arterial hypertension secondary to chronic obstructive lung diseases (COLDs) were studied. All patients underwent respiratory tests and arterial blood gas assessment. An echo-Doppler examination was made to measure LV ejection fraction (EF), RV and LV end-diastolic and end-systolic diameters and areas, RV/LV area indexes, LV diastolic and systolic eccentricity indexes, mitral and tricuspid flow patterns, and mitral flow velocity in late and early diastole (A/E) indexes. A right heart catheterization was carried out to determine the resting mean pulmonary arterial pressure (mPAP). The data showed a marked enlargement of RV, compressing the left through a leftward shift of interventricular septum. A linear regression analysis detected a significant correlation between mPAP and the following parameters: RV/LV diastolic and systolic area indexes (r=0.75, p<0.0001; r=0.84, p<0.000, respectively), mitral A/E index (r=0.61, p<0.0005), and LV diastolic and systolic eccentricity indexes (r=0.93, p<0.0001; and r=0.83, p<0.0001). No correlations were found between echo-Doppler data and functional respiratory parameters. From these results, we conclude that chronic RV pressure overload induces LV filling impairment despite a normal systolic phase, due to septal leftward shift. In fact, chronic RV pressure overload distorts early diastolic LV geometry delaying LV filling phase, and the functional diastolic impairment of the LV is closely correlated to pulmonary hypertension levels.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood Pressure
  • Chronic Disease
  • Echocardiography, Doppler*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Artery
  • Pulmonary Heart Disease / complications*
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / etiology
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / physiopathology
  • Ventricular Function, Right