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Clin Transl Sci. 2009 Aug;2(4):294-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-8062.2009.00134.x.

Phenotyping the right ventricle in patients with pulmonary hypertension.

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Cardiovascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Right ventricular (RV) failure is associated with poor outcomes in pulmonary hypertension (PH). We sought to phenotype the RV in PH patients with compensated and decompensated RV function by quantifying regional and global RV structural and functional changes. Twenty-two patients (age 51 +/- 11, 14 females, mean pulmonary artery (PA) pressure range 13-79 mmHg) underwent right heart catheterization, echocardiography, and ECG-gated multislice computed tomography of the chest. Patients were divided into three groups: Normal, PH with hemodynamically compensated, and decompensated RV function (PH-C and PH-D, respectively). RV wall thickness (WT) was measured at end-diastole (ED) and end-systole (ES) in three regions: infundibulum, lateral free wall, and inferior free wall. Globally, RV volumes progressively increased from Normal to PH-C to PH-D and RV ejection fraction decreased. Regionally, WT increased and fractional wall thickening (FWT) decreased in a spatially heterogeneous manner. Infundibular wall stress was elevated and FWT was lower regardless of the status of global RV function. In PH, there are significant phenotypic abnormalities in the RV even in the absence of overt hemodynamic RV decompensation. Regional changes in RV structure and function may be early markers of patients at risk for developing RV failure.

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