Right atrial pressure (RAP) is a key cardiac parameter of diagnostic and prognostic significance, yet current two-dimensional echocardiographic methods are inadequate for the accurate estimation of this haemodynamic marker. Right-heart trans-tricuspid Doppler and tissue Doppler echocardiographic techniques can be combined to calculate the right ventricular (RV) E/e′ ratio – a reflection of RV filling pressure which is a surrogate of RAP. A systematic search was undertaken which found seventeen articles that compared invasively measured RAP with RV-E/e′ estimated RAP. Results commonly concerned pulmonary hypertension or advanced heart failure/transplantation populations. Reported receiver operating characteristic analyses showed reasonable diagnostic ability of RV-E/e′ for estimating RAP in patients with coronary artery disease and RV systolic dysfunction. The diagnostic ability of RV-E/e′ was generally poor in studies of paediatrics, heart failure and mitral stenosis, whilst results were equivocal in other diseases. Bland–Altman analyses showed good accuracy but poor precision of RV-E/e′ for estimating RAP, but were limited by only being reported in seven out of seventeen articles. This suggests that RV-E/e′ may be useful at a population level but not at an individual level for clinical decision making. Very little evidence was found about how atrial fibrillation may affect the estimation of RAP from RV-E/e′, nor about the independent prognostic ability of RV-E/e′ . Recommended areas for future research concerning RV-E/e′ include; non-sinus rhythm, valvular heart disease, short and long term prognostic ability, and validation over a wide range of RAP.
A J Fletcher, S Robinson, and B S Rana
Abbas Zaidi, David Oxborough, Daniel Xavier Augustine, Radwa Bedair, Allan Harkness, Bushra S Rana, Shaun Robinson, and Luigi P. Badano
Transthoracic echocardiography is the first-line imaging modality in the assessment of right-sided valve disease. The principle objectives of the echocardiographic study are to determine the aetiology, mechanism and severity of valvular dysfunction, as well as consequences on right heart remodelling and estimations of pulmonary artery pressure. Echocardiographic data must be integrated with symptoms, to inform optimal timing and technique of interventions. The most common tricuspid valve abnormality is regurgitation secondary to annular dilatation in the context of atrial fibrillation or left-sided heart disease. Significant pulmonary valve disease is most commonly seen in congenital heart abnormalities. The aetiology and mechanism of tricuspid and pulmonary valve disease can usually be identified by 2-dimensional assessment of leaflet morphology and motion. Colour flow and spectral Doppler are required for assessment of severity, which must integrate data from multiple imaging planes and modalities. Transoesophageal echo is used when transthoracic data is incomplete, although the anterior position of the right heart means that transthoracic imaging is often superior. Three-dimensional echocardiography is a pivotal tool for accurate quantification of right ventricular volumes and regurgitant lesion severity, anatomical characterisation of valve morphology and remodelling pattern, and procedural guidance for catheter-based interventions. Exercise echocardiography may be used to elucidate symptom status and demonstrate functional reserve. CMR and CT should be considered for complimentary data including right ventricular volume quantification, and precise cardiac and extracardiac anatomy. This BSE guideline aims to give practical advice on the standardised acquisition and interpretation of echocardiographic data relating to the pulmonary and tricuspid valves.
Bushra S Rana, Shaun Robinson, Rajeevan Francis, Mark Toshner, Martin J Swaans, Sharad Agarwal, Ravi de Silva, Amer A Rana, and Petros Nihoyannopoulos
Tricuspid regurgitation natural history and treatment remains poorly understood. Right ventricular function is a key factor in determining prognosis, timing for intervention and longer-term outcome. The right ventricle is a thin walled chamber with a predominance of longitudinal fibres and a shared ventricular septum. In health, the low-pressure pulmonary circulation results in a highly compliant RV well equipped to respond to changes in preload but sensitive to even small alterations in afterload. In Part 1 of this article, discussion focuses on key principles of ventricular function assessment and the importance of right ventricular chamber size, volumes and ejection fraction, particularly in risk stratification in tricuspid regurgitation. Part 2 of this article provides an understanding of the causes of tricuspid regurgitation in the contemporary era, with emphasis on key patient groups and their management.
Daniel X Augustine, Lindsay D Coates-Bradshaw, James Willis, Allan Harkness, Liam Ring, Julia Grapsa, Gerry Coghlan, Nikki Kaye, David Oxborough, Shaun Robinson, Julie Sandoval, Bushra S Rana, Anjana Siva, Petros Nihoyannopoulos, Luke S Howard, Kevin Fox, Sanjeev Bhattacharyya, Vishal Sharma, Richard P Steeds, Thomas Mathew, and the British Society of Echocardiography Education Committee
Pulmonary hypertension is defined as a mean arterial pressure of ≥25 mmHg as confirmed on right heart catheterisation. Traditionally, the pulmonary arterial systolic pressure has been estimated on echo by utilising the simplified Bernoulli equation from the peak tricuspid regurgitant velocity and adding this to an estimate of right atrial pressure. Previous studies have demonstrated a correlation between this estimate of pulmonary arterial systolic pressure and that obtained from invasive measurement across a cohort of patients. However, for an individual patient significant overestimation and underestimation can occur and the levels of agreement between the two is poor. Recent guidance has suggested that echocardiographic assessment of pulmonary hypertension should be limited to determining the probability of pulmonary hypertension being present rather than estimating the pulmonary artery pressure. In those patients in whom the presence of pulmonary hypertension requires confirmation, this should be done with right heart catheterisation when indicated. This guideline protocol from the British Society of Echocardiography aims to outline a practical approach to assessing the probability of pulmonary hypertension using echocardiography and should be used in conjunction with the previously published minimum dataset for a standard transthoracic echocardiogram.
Abbas Zaidi, Daniel S Knight, Daniel X Augustine, Allan Harkness, David Oxborough, Keith Pearce, Liam Ring, Shaun Robinson, Martin Stout, James Willis, Vishal Sharma, and the Education Committee of the British Society of Echocardiography
The structure and function of the right side of the heart is influenced by a wide range of physiological and pathological conditions. Quantification of right heart parameters is important in a variety of clinical scenarios including diagnosis, prognostication, and monitoring response to therapy. Although echocardiography remains the first-line imaging investigation for right heart assessment, published guidance is relatively sparse in comparison to that for the left ventricle. This guideline document from the British Society of Echocardiography describes the principles and practical aspects of right heart assessment by echocardiography, including quantification of chamber dimensions and function, as well as assessment of valvular function. While cut-off values for normality are included, a disease-oriented approach is advocated due to the considerable heterogeneity of structural and functional changes seen across the spectrum of diseases affecting the right heart. The complex anatomy of the right ventricle requires special considerations and echocardiographic techniques, which are set out in this document. The clinical relevance of right ventricular diastolic function is introduced, with practical guidance for its assessment. Finally, the relatively novel techniques of three-dimensional right ventricular echocardiography and right ventricular speckle tracking imaging are described. Despite these techniques holding considerable promise, issues relating to reproducibility and inter-vendor variation have limited their clinical utility to date.