Non-Invasive Risk Prediction Based on Right Ventricular Function in Patients with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
BACKGROUND: Right ventricular dysfunction is a major determinant of outcome in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). We aimed to identify echocardiographic right heart parameters associated with adverse outcome and to develop a non-invasive, echocardiography-based risk score for PAH patients.
METHODS AND RESULTS: In 254 PAH patients we analyzed functional status, laboratory results, and echocardiographic parameters. We included these parameters to estimate all-cause death or lung transplantation using Cox regression models. The analyses included a conventional model using guideline-recommended variables and an extended echocardiographic model. Based on the final model a 12-point risk score was derived, indicating the association with the primary outcome within five years. During a median follow-up time of 4.2 years 74 patients died or underwent lung transplantation. The conventional model resulted in a C-Index of 0.539, whereas the extended echocardiographic model improved the discrimination (C-index 0.639, p-value 0.017). Ultimately, the newly developed risk score included WHO functional class, 6-min walking distance, N-terminal brain natriuretic peptide concentrations, pericardial effusion, right atrial area, tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion, and fractional area change.
CONCLUSION: Integrating right heart function assessed by echocardiography improves prediction of death or lung transplantation in PAH patients. Independent validation of this finding is warranted.
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