Sisyphus’s Dilemma: Measurement of Ventricular-Arterial Coupling by Doppler Echocardiography Predicts the Incidence of Right Ventricular Failure after Heart Transplantation Better than Right Catheterization

Ignacio Bluro, Ezequiel Espinosa, Ricardo Gustavo Marenchino, Pablo Fernando Oberti, Mariano Luis Falconi, Patricio White, Rodolfo Pizarro, César Antonio Belziti


Background: Increased pulmonary vascular resistance, assessed by right catheterization, is usually mentioned as a relative contraindication for inclusion in the list of heart transplantation since it is associated with failure of the implanted right ventricle. There is evidence suggesting that the behavior of the pulmonary circulation depends on its interaction with theright ventricle, so a parameter that evaluates ventricular-arterial coupling could predict right ventricular failure better than isolated hemodynamic parameters. Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the ability of the tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion/pulmonary systolic pressure ratio (TAPSE/PSP) to predict the incidence of post-transplantation right ventricular failure compared with invasive hemodynamic parameters measured before transplantation. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study using variables prospectively collected from the heart transplantation database of a University Hospital of the City of Buenos Aires. A total of 56 consecutive patients with complete echocardiographic and hemodynamic tests, undergoing heart transplantation between January 2012 and April 2017, were included in the study. Patients with more than one parenchymal transplantation, retransplantation, congenital heart disease, those requiring ventricular assistance at the time of pre-transplantation assessment or with incomplete data were excluded. Results: Three patients (5.3%) died within the first 30 days, 2 from right ventricular failure. No preoperative hemodynamic or echocardiographic parameters were associated with mortality. The incidence of right ventricular failure in the immediate postoperative period was 28.5% (16 patients). All the hemodynamic variables of pulmonary pressure and resistance, and the TAPSE/PSP ratio measured by echocardiography were associated with the development of right ventricular failure after heart transplantation. In a multivariate analysis including hemodynamic and echocardiographic variables, the TAPSE/PSP ratio was the only one independently associated with right ventricular failure (0R>10, 95% CI 2.2->100, p=0.03). A TAPSE/PSP cut-off value of 0.26 showed sensitivity of 81% and specificity of 88% to predict right ventricular failure, with an area under the ROC curve of 0.84 ± 0.06 and X2=0 in the Hosmer-Lemeshow test (p=1) when considering quartiles of TAPSE/PSP. A predictive model of right ventricular failure composed of hemodynamic variables showed a sensitivity of 38% and a specificity of 97.5%, with an area under the ROC curve of 0.78±0.06 and X2=2.37 (p=0.3) in the Hosmer-Lemeshow test. Conclusions: We can conclude that the TAPSE/PSP ratio showed better discrimination and calibration to predict right ventricular failure, with 0.26 as the best prognostic performance value.


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Revista argentina de cardiología. ISSN en línea 1850-3748. Argentine journal of cardiology (English ed. Online ISSN 2314-2286) Sociedad Argentina de Cardiología. Azcuénaga 980 (C1115AAD),Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, República Argentina. Tel. (54 11) 4961-6027/8/9 Fax: 4961-6020