The prognostic value of the relationship between right atrial and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure in diverse cardiovascular conditions

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Physical examination of jugular venous pressure is used to estimate right atrial (RA) pressure and infer left-sided filling pressure to assist volume management. Previous studies in advanced heart failure patients showed about 75% concordance between RA and pulmonary capillary wedge (PCW) pressures. We sought to determine the relationship between mean RA and mean PCW pressure and assess the clinical significance in a broad population of patients undergoing invasive right heart catheterization (RHC).


We examined 4135 RHC cases at a single academic medical center from February 2007 to December 2014, analyzing baseline variables, hemodynamic data, and in-hospital mortality.


The overall Pearson correlation for mean RA and PCW pressures was 0.68 with 70% concordance between dichotomized pressures (RA ≥10 and PCW ≥22 mmHg). Results were similar in subgroups with heart failure (r = 0.67, 72%), STEMI/NSTEMI (r = 0.60, 69%), unstable angina (r = 0.78, 69%), stable/no angina (r = 0.72, 67%), and valvular disease (r = 0.61, 72%; Chi-square P = .15). Mean RA pressure was independently associated with in-hospital mortality in multivariate analysis (OR 1.12 [95% CI 1.081-1.157] per 1 mmHg increase, P < .001). The RA/PCW ratio was not independently associated with in-hospital mortality. Mean RA pressure was also weakly associated with worse renal function (rho = −0.16, P < .001).


In patients undergoing right catheterization for diverse indications, the mean RA and PCW pressures correlated moderately well, but there was discordance in a sizable minority, in whom assessment of left-sided filling pressures using estimated jugular venous pressure may be misleading. Elevated right atrial pressure is a marker for in-hospital mortality.

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