Echocardiographic evaluation of right ventricular-arterial coupling in pulmonary hypertension


Aurora Research Institute


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a hemodynamic condition characterized by chronically elevated mean pulmonary artery pressure (m-PAP ≥ 25 mmHg) measured at rest by right heart catheterization (RHC). It includes a pre-capillary and a post-capillary form. Pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH) is a pre-capillary form of PH potentially generated by several heterogeneous systemic disorders, whose main hemodynamic change is represented by severely increased pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR). In order to preserve an efficient right ventricular-arterial (RV-PA) coupling, the right ventricle (RV) adapts to this chronic increase of its afterload, with a compensatory hypertrophy, until RV dilatation and dysfunction occur. Right ventricular (RV) function and especially RV-PA coupling assessment showed to be very important prognostic markers in this subset of patients, especially for those with pre-capillary PH. The aim of this review is to provide a pathophysiological insight into the spectrum of RV adaptive changes occurring in response to chronic increase of RV afterload and to present the role of echocardiographic parameters as possible tools for early non-invasive evaluation of RV-PA coupling, before overt heart failure ensues.

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