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Clinical Investigations: CARDIOLOGY |

Noninvasive Estimation of Pulmonary Artery Diastolic Pressure in Patients With Tricuspid Regurgitation by Doppler Echocardiography*

Bibiana Stephen, MD; Prateek Dalal, MD; Marvin Berger, MD, FCCP; Paul Schweitzer, MD; Susan Hecht, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From The Heart Institute, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, NY.

Correspondence to: Marvin Berger, MD, FCCP, Beth Israel Medical Center, First Avenue at 16th Street, New York, NY 10003



Chest. 1999;116(1):73-77. doi:10.1378/chest.116.1.73
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Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine whether Doppler echocardiographic assessment of right ventricular pressure at the time of pulmonary valve opening could predict pulmonary artery diastolic pressure.

Background: Doppler echocardiography has been used to estimate right ventricular systolic pressure noninvasively. Because right ventricular and pulmonary artery diastolic pressure are equal at the time of pulmonary valve opening, Doppler echocardiographic estimation of right ventricular pressure at this point might provide an estimate of pulmonary artery diastolic pressure.

Methods: We studied 31 patients who underwent right heart catheterization and had tricuspid regurgitation. Pulmonary flow velocity was recorded by pulsed wave Doppler echocardiography, and tricuspid regurgitant velocity was recorded by continuous wave Doppler echocardiography. The time of pulmonary valve opening was determined as the onset of systolic flow in the pulmonary artery. Tricuspid velocity at the time of pulmonary valve opening was measured by superimposing the interval between the onset of the QRS complex on the ECG and the onset of pulmonary flow on the tricuspid regurgitant envelope. The tricuspid gradient at this instant was calculated from the measured tricuspid velocity using the Bernoulli equation. This gradient was compared to the pulmonary artery diastolic pressure obtained by right heart catheterization.

Measurements and results: The pressure gradient between the right atrium and right ventricle obtained at the time of pulmonary valve opening ranged from 9 to 31 mm Hg (mean, 19 ± 5) and correlated closely with invasively measured pulmonary artery diastolic pressure (range, 9 to 36 mm Hg; mean, 21 ± 7 mm Hg; r = 0.92; SEE, 1.9 mm Hg).

Conclusion: Doppler echocardiographic measurement of right ventricular pressure at the time of pulmonary valve opening is a reliable noninvasive method for estimating pulmonary diastolic pressure.

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