Pulmonary hypertension: the importance of a multidisciplinary approach
BACKGROUND Identification of patients at risk of deterioration is essential to guide clinical management in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). This study aims to provide a comprehensive overview of well-investigated echocardiographic findings that are associated with clinical deterioration in PAH. METHODS MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were systematically searched for longitudinal studies published by April 2015 that reported associations between echocardiographic findings and mortality, transplant or clinical worsening. Meta-analysis using random effect models was performed for echocardiographic findings investigated by four or more studies. In case of statistical heterogeneity a sensitivity analysis was conducted. RESULTS Thirty-seven papers investigating 51 echocardiographic findings were included. Meta-analysis of univariable hazard ratios (HRs) and sensitivity analysis showed that presence of pericardial effusion (pooled HR 1.70; 95 % CI 1.44-1.99), right atrial area (pooled HR 1.71; 95 % CI 1.38-2.13) and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE; pooled HR 1.72; 95 % CI 1.34-2.20) were the most well-investigated and robust predictors of mortality or transplant. CONCLUSIONS This meta-analysis substantiates the clinical yield of specific echocardiographic findings in the prognostication of PAH patients in day-to-day practice. In particular, pericardial effusion, right atrial area and TAPSE are of prognostic value.