Right atrial function is associated with RV diastolic stiffness: RA-RV interaction in pulmonary arterial hypertension

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BACKGROUND: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) patients have altered right atrial (RA) function and right ventricular (RV) diastolic stiffness. This study assessed the impact of RV diastolic stiffness on RA-RV interaction.

METHODS: Low or high end-diastolic elastance (Eed) PAH patients (n=94) were compared to controls (n=31). Treatment response was evaluated in n=62 patients. RV and RA longitudinal strain, RA emptying and RV filling were determined and diastole was divided in a passive and active phase. Vena cava backflow was calculated as RV active filling-RA active emptying; RA stroke work as RA active emptying*RV end-diastolic pressure.

RESULTS: With increased Eed, RA and RV passive strain were reduced while active strain was preserved. In comparison to controls, patients had lower RV passive filling, but higher RA active emptying and RA stroke work. RV active filling was lower in high Eed patients, resulting in higher vena cava backflow. Upon treatment, Eed reduced in half of high Eedpatients, which coincided with larger reductions in afterload, RV mass and vena cava backflow and greater improvements in RV active filling and stroke volume in comparison to patients in whom Eed remained high.

CONCLUSIONS: In PAH, RA function is associated with changes in RV function. Despite increased RA stroke work, severe RV diastolic stiffness is associated with reduced RV active filling and increased vena cava backflow. In 50% of high baseline Eed patients, diastolic stiffness remains high, despite treatment. Eed reduction coincided with a large reduction in afterload, increased RV active filling and decreased vena cava backflow.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe European respiratory journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Nov 2021

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