JOURNAL ARTICLE

Right ventricular myocardial systolic and diastolic dysfunction in heart failure with normal left ventricular ejection fraction

Daniel A Morris, Mudather Gailani, Amalia Vaz Pérez, Florian Blaschke, Rainer Dietz, Wilhelm Haverkamp, Cemil Özcelik
Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography 2011, 24 (8): 886-97
21601421

OBJECTIVE: We hypothesized that in patients with heart failure with normal left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (HFNEF), the same fibrotic processes that affect the subendocardial layer of the LV could also alter the subendocardial fibers of the right ventricle (RV). Consequently, these alterations and to a lesser extent chronically elevated pulmonary arterial pressures would lead to both systolic and diastolic subendocardial dysfunction of the RV (i.e., impaired RV longitudinal systolic and diastolic function) in patients with HFNEF.

METHODS: Patients with HFNEF and a control group consisting of asymptomatic patients with LV diastolic dysfunction (asymptomatic LVDD) matched by age, gender, and LV ejection fraction were studied by two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography.

RESULTS: A total of 565 patients were included (201 with HFNEF and 364 with asymptomatic LVDD). RV longitudinal diastolic (RV global longitudinal early-diastolic strain rate [RV-SRe]) and systolic (RV global longitudinal systolic strain [RV-Strain]) function were significantly more impaired in patients with HFNEF than in patients with asymptomatic LVDD (HFNEF: RV-Strain -14.41% ± 3.80% and RV-SRe 0.86 ± 0.33 s(-1); asymptomatic LVDD: RV-Strain -16.90% ± 4.28% and RV-SRe 1.02 ± 0.34 s(-1); all P < .0001). On multiple regression analysis, LV global longitudinal systolic strain was the most important independent predictor of RV longitudinal systolic and diastolic function, in contrast with pulmonary arterial systolic pressure, which was weakly related to these functions. Furthermore, in patients with HFNEF the subendocardial function of both the LV and RV were significantly impaired in similar proportions. In that regard, in patients with HFNEF the prevalences of RV longitudinal systolic and diastolic dysfunction were 75% and 48%, whereas the rates of LV longitudinal systolic and diastolic dysfunction were 80% and 60%, respectively. In addition, patients with both systolic and diastolic longitudinal dysfunction of the RV presented worse New York Heart Association functional class.

CONCLUSION: In patients with HFNEF, RV subendocardial systolic and diastolic dysfunction are common and possibly associated with the same fibrotic processes that affect the subendocardial layer of the LV and to a lesser extent with RV pressure overload. Furthermore, our findings suggest that RV longitudinal systolic and diastolic dysfunction could contribute to the symptomatology of patients with HFNEF.

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