Background: Tissue Doppler (TD) echocardiographic imaging of mitral and tricuspid annulus has been applied to assess right ventricular (RV) and left ventricular (LV) function in many cardiac diseases, but its clinical application, including response to long-term targeted therapy in patients with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension (PH), has not been addressed.
Methods: Seventy patients with idiopathic PH were compared with 35 age-matched control subjects to examine myocardial velocities by TD. Of these, 35 patients underwent repeat imaging after long-term targeted therapy. In addition, 50 consecutive patients with idiopathic PH with simultaneous right-heart catheterization and echocardiography were examined.
Results: No significant differences were noted between PH patients and the control group in lateral mitral annulus systolic velocity and early diastolic velocity (Ea) by TD, but septal velocities were significantly lower (p < 0.01). With targeted therapy, myocardial velocities at the septum and RV free wall increased significantly (p < 0.05). Likewise, E/Ea ratio increased, albeit still in the normal range. In all 50 patients with invasive measurements, lateral E/Ea ratio readily identified normal mean pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP).
Conclusions: TD imaging of the lateral mitral annulus can reliably predict the presence of normal/reduced mean PCWP in patients with idiopathic PH, and track the improvement in RV function and LV filling with long-term targeted therapy.