Accuracy of Doppler echocardiography in the hemodynamic assessment of pulmonary circulation in patients with systemic sclerosis.


Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is an ominous complication in systemic sclerosis patients (SSc) and echocardiography is a screening tool for its detection. The goal of this study was to assess the reliability of resting and exercise echo Doppler parameters with data obtained by right heart catheterization (RHC).
METHODS : We included 91 patients (84 F, 53.3 ± 15.2 years) with SSc. Transthoracic echocardiography followed by exercise Doppler-echocardiography (EDE) were performed. A positive EDE was defined as a ≥20 mmHg increase in tricuspid regurgitation peak gradient (TRPG). RHC with exercise was performed in positive EDE patients and/or in subjects with resting TRPG > 31 mmHg.
RESULTS : Finally, RHC was performed in 20 patients. The correlation for the echocardiography and invasive measurement of systolic (sPAP) and mean (mPAP) pulmonary artery pressure was r = 0.66 (p = 0.001) and r = 0.7 (p = 0.001), respectively. We also found significant correlation between echocardiography and invasive measurement of exercise sPAP r = 0.68 (p = 0.001) and exercise mPAP r = 0.67 (p = 0.002). There was a correlation between pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) assessed by echocardiography and measured by RHC r = 0.49, p = 0.027. The equation derived within our population was: PVR by echocardiography = 9.6*TRV/TVIRVOT+0.068. We also performed ROC analysis to predict PVR > 2 WU. Our results highlight that sPAP has the highest AUC (0.802, 95% CI 0.585-1).
CONCLUSIONS : Doppler resting and exercise echocardiography may provide a reliable, noninvasive method for determining resting and exercise sPAP, mPAP, and PVR in SSc patients, although it may underestimate or overestimate these values in some individuals. Doppler echocardiography does not replace RHC for definite hemodynamic assessment of suspected PH.


Doppler echocardiography,Exercise,Pulmonary hypertension,Systemic sclerosis,