Echocardiographic estimation of mean pulmonary artery pressure in critically ill patients

Russell D. Laver, Ubbo F. Wiersema, Andrew D. Bersten

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    Background: Indirect assessment of mean pulmonary arterial pressure (MPAP) may assist management of critically ill patients with pulmonary hypertension and right heart dysfunction. MPAP can be estimated as the sum of echocardiographically derived mean right ventricular to right atrial systolic pressure gradient and right atrial pressure; however, this has not been validated in critically ill patients. Methods: This prospective validation study was conducted in patients undergoing pulmonary artery catheterisation during intensive care admission. Pulmonary artery catheter (PAC) measurements of MPAP were contemporaneously compared to MPAP estimated utilising transthoracic echocardiography (TTE)-derived mean right ventricular to right atrial systolic pressure gradient added to invasively measured right atrial pressure. Results: Of 53 patients assessed, 23 had estimable MPAP using TTE. The mean difference between TTE- and PAC-derived MPAP was 1.9 mmHg (SD 5.0), with upper and lower limits of agreement of 11.6 and −7.9 mmHg, respectively. The median absolute percentage difference between TTE- and PAC-derived MPAP was 7.5%. Inter-rater reliability assessment was performed for 15 patients, giving an intra-class correlation coefficient of 0.96 (95% confidence intervals, 0.89 to 0.99). Conclusions: This echocardiographic method of estimating MPAP in critically ill patients was not equivalent to invasively measured MPAP, based on our predefined clinically acceptable range (±5 mmHg). The accuracy of this method in critically ill patients was similar to the results obtained in ambulatory patients and compared favourably with regard to the accuracy with echocardiographic estimation of systolic pulmonary arterial pressure. The utility of this technique is limited by frequent inability to obtain an adequate tricuspid regurgitant time-velocity integral in critically ill patients.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number9
    Number of pages7
    JournalCritical Ultrasound Journal
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2014

    Bibliographical note

    Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


    • Critical care
    • Echocardiography
    • Hypertension
    • Intensive care
    • Pulmonary


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