Comparison of quantitative versus qualitative assessment of single right ventricular function for the prediction of midterm outcomes


Department of Pediatric Cardiology, Advocate Children's Hospital

Advocate Research Institute


Multiple studies have shown that quantitative evaluation of right ventricular (RV) systolic function in children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is associated with outcomes. However, the most widely used method is qualitative, or subjective echocardiographic evaluation. Tricuspid annular displacement (TMAD) is a quantitative method and has been shown to be associated with transplant/death in a cohort of pediatric patients with HLHS. In this study, the same echocardiograms used in the quantitative TMAD study were qualitatively evaluated to see if the assessment correlated with midterm outcomes. We hypothesized that TMAD measures would outperform qualitative measurements. A previously published retrospective study of patients with systemic right ventricle demonstrated that TMAD measurements of function prior to the Glenn procedure were associated with midterm mortality/transplant (mean TMAD 12.4% for survivors and 10.0% for non-survivors/transplant, p = 0.03). Echocardiographic images used in that study were re-evaluated using qualitative assessment of function. A score between severely depressed (0) and supra-normal (7) was assigned independently by three cardiologists. A chart review included short-term clinical outcome measures in addition to midterm mortality/transplant. Spearman correlations and logistic regression were used to estimate the associations between function scores and clinical outcomes. Function scores were measured with acceptable inter- and intra-rater reliabilities in 47 patients who had echocardiograms used in the prior analysis before their bidirectional Glenn. The mean functional score was 5.3 ± 1.32 in survivors and 5.0 ± 1.02 in non-survivors/transplant. Subjective echocardiographic scores of function were not predictive of mortality (p = 0.23). Scores were correlated with length of cardiac intensive care unit stay (Spearman's rho =  - 0.31, p = 0.04), but not post-Glenn total length of hospital stay (p = 0.4). A sub-analysis was performed for each individual operator. Only one of three operators produced scores with a significant association with mortality/transplant (p = 0.01, p = 0.25, p = 0.22, respectively). Averaged subjective measurement of function by three pediatric cardiologists in children with single right ventricle prior to the Glenn procedure was not associated with midterm outcomes. Previous work based on the same echocardiograms showed that quantitative analysis was associated with midterm outcomes. This suggests quantitative analysis may be more useful in prognostication. Future studies could confirm these results and identify which quantitative methods are most helpful.

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