The Prognostic Value of Right Atrial Strain Imaging in Patients with Precapillary Pulmonary Hypertension

Nina E. Hasselberg, Nobuyuki Kagiyama, Yuko Soyama, Masataka Sugahara, Akiko Goda, Keiko Ryo-Koriyama, Omar Batel, Murali Chakinala, Marc A. Simon, John Gorcsan

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28 Scopus citations


Background: Right ventricular (RV) failure in patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) is associated with unfavorable clinical events and a poor prognosis. Elevation of right atrial (RA) pressure is established as a marker for RV failure. However, the additive prognostic value of RA mechanical function is unclear. Methods: The authors tested the hypothesis that RA function by strain echocardiography has prognostic usefulness by studying 165 consecutive patients with precapillary PH defined invasively: mean pulmonary artery pressure ≥ 25 mm Hg and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure < 15 mm Hg. Speckle-tracking strain analyses of the right atrium and right ventricle were performed, along with routine measures. Peak RA strain values from six segments using generic speckle-tracking software were averaged to RA peak longitudinal strain, representing RA global reservoir function. The primary end point was all-cause mortality during 5 years of follow-up. RA strain was similarly analyzed in a control group of 16 normal subjects for comparison. Results: There were 151 patients with PH (mean age, 55 ± 16 years; 73% women; mean World Health Organization functional class, 2.6 ± 0.6), after 14 exclusions (three with atrial septal defects and 11 with left ventricular ejection fractions < 50%). RA strain measurement was feasible in 93% of patients and RV strain measurement in 88%. RA peak longitudinal strain was significantly reduced in patients with PH compared with control subjects, as expected (P < .001). During 5-year follow-up, 73 patients (48%) died. Patients with RA peak strain in the lowest quartile (<25%) had a significant risk for death (P = .006), even after correcting for confounding variables. RA strain was independently associated with survival in multivariate analysis (P = .039) and had additive prognostic value to RV strain (log-rank P = .01) in subgroup analysis. Conclusions: RA peak longitudinal strain had additive prognostic usefulness to other clinical measures, including RV strain, RA area, and RA pressure, in patients with PH. RA mechanical function by strain imaging has potential for clinical applications in patients with PH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-861.e1
JournalJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Mortality
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Right atrial reservoir function
  • Right atrial strain
  • Speckle-tracking echocardiography


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