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J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2014 Jul;27(7):733-741.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.echo.2014.03.012. Epub 2014 Apr 26.

Prognostic value of echocardiographic changes in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension receiving parenteral prostacyclin therapy.

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Department of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Respiratory Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Electronic address:
Department of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Respiratory Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.
Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.



It is unknown whether the echocardiographic changes observed after treatment of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension have prognostic value.


Subjects with pulmonary arterial hypertension, confirmed by right heart catheterization, who underwent Doppler echocardiography before (baseline) and after 1 year of treatment (follow-up) with parenteral prostacyclin analogues were retrospectively identified. Echocardiographic parameters were measured offline by two investigators.


A total of 48 patients were included (mean age, 45 ± 14 years; 83% women). Compared with baseline, follow-up echocardiography showed reductions in right atrial area (mean percentage change, 12 ± 25%; P < .001), right ventricular (RV) basal and middle cavity dimensions (mean percentage change, 8.5 ± 14% [P < .001] and 6.8 ± 17% [P = .005], respectively), and peak tricuspid regurgitant velocity (mean percentage change, 10 ± 14%; P < .001). Tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (mean percentage change, 36 ± 43%; P < .001) and RV outflow tract time-velocity integral (mean percentage change, 48 ± 66%; P < .001) increased. During a median follow-up period of 52.5 months (interquartile range, 20.5-80 months), 18 patients (37.5%) died, mostly (n = 15 [83%]) from progression of pulmonary arterial hypertension. The changes in RV end-diastolic area (hazard ratio [HR per 10% decrease, 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.57-0.93), tricuspid valve regurgitation velocity (HR per 10 cm/sec decrease, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.37-0.89), RV outflow tract velocity-time integral (HR per 10% increase, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.83-0.98), and subjective RV function (HR per 1 unit of improvement [e.g., from moderate to mild], 0.55; 95% CI, 0.31-0.96) were associated with overall mortality.


Echocardiographic parameters that estimate RV systolic pressure and assess RV morphology and function improve after 1 year of prostacyclin analogue treatment, and the degree of change has prognostic implications.


Echocardiography; Outcome; Prostacyclin analogues; Pulmonary arterial hypertension

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