High rate of isolated right ventricular dysfunction in patients with non-significant CT pulmonary angiography

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Abstract

Background

Right ventricular (RV) dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension (PH) are commonly unrecognized in the emergency department (ED), but are associated with poor outcomes. Prior research has found a 30% prevalence of isolated RV dysfunction in ED patients after non-significant computed tomographic pulmonary angiography (CTPA). We aimed to prospectively define the prevalence of RV dysfunction and/or PH in short of breath ED patients, and assess outcomes.

Methods

Prospective observational study of patients with a non-significant CTPA. Isolated RV dysfunction and/or PH was defined as normal left ventricular function plus RV dilation, moderate to severe tricuspid regurgitation or RV systolic pressure > 40 mm Hg on comprehensive echocardiography.

Results

Of 83 patients, 20 (24%, 95% [confidence interval] CI: 16–34%) had isolated RV dysfunction and/or PH. These patients had 40% ED recidivism and 30% hospital readmission at 30-days. When compared to patients with normal echocardiographic function, they had significantly longer intensive care unit and hospital length of stays.

Conclusions

In a prospective cohort of ED patients, we found a high prevalence of isolated RV dysfunction and/or PH after a non-significant CTPA. These patients had high rates of recidivism and hospital readmission. This data supports a continued need for ED based screening and specialty referral.

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