Noninvasive assessment of right heart function and hemodynamics during exercise in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension

Michelle L. Freeman, Carolyn Landolfo, Robert E. Safford, Cesar A. Keller, Michael G. Heckman, Charles D. Burger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Noninvasive assessment of right heart function and hemodynamics in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is most often performed at rest, whereas the symptoms, in general, present with exertion. Assessment during exertion is limited to symptom assessment and the 6-minute walk distance. We investigated the feasibility of obtaining echocardiographic data that could accurately reflect pulmonary artery pressures (PAP), particularly mean PAP and right ventricular function during exercise in patients with PAH. METHODS: We investigated right ventricular function and hemodynamics using echocardiography during symptom-limited exercise in 10 consecutive patients undergoing right heart catheterization (RHC) as part of their clinical evaluation for PAH. We further assessed these measurements for correlation with known predictors of outcome in PAH in an exploratory analysis. RESULTS: We were able to successfully obtain complete right heart measurements by echocardiography, including mean PAP, in the majority (9 of 10) of the subjects. One patient had an incomplete tricuspid regurgitation jet at rest and with exercise. Echocardiographic pulmonary vascular resistance correlated with RHC cardiac output and brain natriuretic peptide level, whereas tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion during exercise correlated with right atrial pressure on RHC, brain natriuretic peptide, and 6-minute walk distance. Tricuspid regurgitation velocity and mean PAP with exercise correlated moderately with mean PAP and cardiac output by RHC. CONCLUSIONS: Exercise echocardiography can provide meaningful data in patients with PAH, including measuring mean PAP. The presence of correlations in this small number of patients indicates promising targets for future investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages6
JournalSouthern medical journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • exercise echocardiography
  • pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • right ventricular function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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