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Right Ventricular Function in Adult Patients with Eisenmenger Physiology: Insights from Quantitative Echocardiography


  • This project was partially supported by an American Society of Echocardiography Echo Investigator Award (2008). No conflicts of interest are associated with this work.

Address for correspondence and reprint requests: Andreas P. Kalogeropoulos, M.D., Emory University Hospital, 1364 Clifton Road NE, Suite D433 Atlanta. GA 30345. Fax: +1 404 7124919; E-mail:,


Background: The favorable outcomes of Eisenmenger syndrome (ES) relative to other forms of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) have been partially attributed to a unique adaptation of the right ventricle (RV). However, conventional measures of RV function may not adequately express this adaptation. Methods: We studied 23 patients with ES (age 43 ± 17 years, 16 women, pulmonary artery systolic pressure [PASP] 93 ± 26 mmHg), 25 patients with PAH (age 44 ± 13 years, 17 women, PASP 92 ± 19 mmHg), and 25 subjects without known structural disease (age 45 ± 16 years, 17 women). We evaluated long- and short-axis function of the RV with two-dimensional strain and anatomical M-mode echocardiography, respectively. Results: Long-axis function of the RV was comparable between patients with ES and PAH although depressed relative to controls (global strain, −15.6 ± 4.7, −14.9 ± 4.3, and −22.4 ± 2.8%, respectively, P < 0.001; global RV systolic strain rate, −0.77 ± 0.26, −0.84 ± 0.24, and −1.11 ± 0.21 1/sec, respectively, P < 0.001). However, short-axis RV function was significantly better in patients with ES versus those with PAH and preserved relative to controls (RV fractional shortening by anatomical M-mode, median [interquartile range], 21%[14–33%], 14%[10–16%], and 26%[22–36%], respectively, P = 0.002 for ES vs. PAH, P = 0.09 for ES vs. controls). This differential was not reflected in conventional measures of RV function (fractional area change, 32 ± 10 vs. 29 ± 8% in ES and PAH, respectively, P = 0.26). Conclusion: In patients with ES, the RV is characterized by preserved short-axis function, despite a depressed long-axis function. Thus, conventional assessment of RV function might not be suitable for patients with ES. (Echocardiography 2010;27:937-945)

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