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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 68-72

Feasibility and role of right ventricular stress echocardiography in adult patients

1 Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences and Public Health, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
2 Department of Cardiac, Thoracic, Vascular Sciences, and Public Health, Unit of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
3 Department of Women Children Health, University of Padova, Padova, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Valeria Pergola
Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences and Public Health, University of Padova, Padova
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcecho.jcecho_4_21

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Background: The great technological advancements in the field of echocardiography have led to applications of stress echocardiography (SE) in almost all diagnostic fields of cardiology, from ischemic heart disease to valvular heart disease and diastolic function. However, the assessment of the right ventricle (RV) in general, and in particular in regard to the contractile reserve of the RV, is an area that has not been previously explored. We, therefore, propose a study to investigate the potential use of SE for the assessment of RV function in adult patients. Aims and objectives: The primary aim is to evaluate the feasibility of right ventricular SE. The secondary aim is to assess right ventricular contractile reserve. Matherials and Methods: Eighty-one patients undergoing a physical or dobutamine stress echocardiogram for cardiovascular risk stratification or chest pain were the subject of the study. An exercise leg cycle using a standard WHO protocol was used to simultaneously assess the right and left ventricular global and regional function as well as acquiring Doppler data. Whereas the patient had limitations in mobility, a dobutamine SE was be performed. We evaluated the average values of tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE), fractional area change (FAC), S-wave, systolic pulmonary artery pressure (sPAP), and right ventricle global longitudinal (free wall) strain (RVGLS) during baseline and at the peak of the effort. RV contractile reserve was defined as the change in RVGLS from rest to peak exercise. We also assessed the reproducibility of these measurements between two different expert operators (blind analysis). Results: At least 3 over 5 RV function parameters were measurable both during baseline and at the peak of the effort in 95% of patients, while all 5 parameters in 65% of our population, demonstrating an excellent feasibility. All RV-studied variables showed a statistically significant increase (P < 0.001) at peak compared to the baseline. The average percentage increases at peak were 31.1% for TAPSE, 24.8% for FAC, 50.6% for S-wave, 55.2% for PAPS, and 39.8% for RV strain. The reproducibility between operators at baseline and peak was excellent. Our study demonstrates that TAPSE, FAC, and S-wave are highly feasible at rest and at peak, while TAPSE, S-wave, and sPAP are the most reliable measurements during RV stress echo. Conclusion: RVGLS is useful in the assessment of RV contractile reserve in patients with good acoustic window. Further studies are needed to evaluate the impact of contrast echocardiography in improving RV contractile reserve assessment during SE.

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