Objectives: This study sought to assess the accuracy of Doppler echocardiographic techniques for the determination of right heart catheterization hemodynamic variables in patients with advanced heart failure and in potential heart transplant recipients.
Background: Doppler echocardiographic techniques permit the noninvasive acquisition of hemodynamic variables traditionally used for the assessment of patients with advanced heart failure and potential heart transplant candidates. However, the accuracy of these techniques has not been sufficiently well documented for clinical application in individual patients.
Methods: Echocardiographic data required for estimation of mean right atrial, pulmonary artery and mean left atrial pressures and cardiac output were obtained. Right heart catheterization was performed immediately after Doppler echocardiographic data were acquired, before any intervention that might have altered the subject's hemodynamic status.
Results: A complete Doppler echocardiographic hemodynamic data set was acquired in 21 (84%) of 25 subjects. For all variables, invasive and noninvasive hemodynamic values were highly correlated (p < 0.001), with minimal bias and narrow 95% confidence limits. An algorithm constructed from the noninvasive hemodynamic variable values identified all patients with adverse pulmonary vascular hemodynamic variables (i.e., transpulmonary gradient > or = 12 mm Hg, pulmonary vascular resistance > or = 3 Wood units or pulmonary vascular resistance index > or = 6 Wood units x m2). This algorithm identified 12 (71%) of 19 patients for whom right heart catheterization was unnecessary.
Conclusions: Doppler echocardiographic estimates of hemodynamic variables in patients with advanced heart failure are accurate and reproducible. This noninvasive methodology may assist with monitoring and optimization of medical therapy in patients with advanced heart failure and may obviate the need for routine right heart catheterization in potential heart transplant candidates.