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Cardiovasc Ultrasound. 2014 Aug 11;12:32. doi: 10.1186/1476-7120-12-32.

Assessment of left atrial volume before and after pulmonary thromboendarterectomy in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension.

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  • 1School of Medicine and Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, University of California San Diego, 9444 Medical Center Drive, #7411, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.



Impaired left ventricular diastolic filling is common in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), and recent studies support left ventricular underfilling as a cause. To investigate this further, we assessed left atrial volume index (LAVI) in patients with CTEPH before and after pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE).


Forty-eight consecutive CTEPH patients had pre- & post-PTE echocardiograms and right heart catheterizations. Parameters included mean pulmonary artery pressure (mPAP), pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR), cardiac index, LAVI, & mitral E/A ratio. Echocardiograms were performed 6 ± 3 days pre-PTE and 10 ± 4 days post-PTE. Regression analyses compared pre- and post-PTE LAVI with other parameters.


Pre-op LAVI (mean 19.0 ± 7 mL/m2) correlated significantly with pre-op PVR (R = -0.45, p = 0.001), mPAP (R = -0.28, p = 0.05) and cardiac index (R = 0.38, p = 0.006). Post-PTE, LAVI increased by 18% to 22.4 ± 7 mL/m2 (p = 0.003). This change correlated with change in PVR (765 to 311 dyne-s/cm5, p = 0.01), cardiac index (2.6 to 3.2 L/min/m2, p = 0.02), and E/A (.95 to 1.44, p = 0.002).


In CTEPH, smaller LAVI is associated with lower cardiac output, higher mPAP, and higher PVR. LAVI increases by ~20% after PTE, and this change correlates with changes in PVR and mitral E/A. The rapid increase in LAVI supports the concept that left ventricular diastolic impairment and low E/A pre-PTE are due to left heart underfilling rather than inherent left ventricular diastolic dysfunction.

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