We examined whether pulmonary venous flow variables, assessed by transthoracic Doppler echocardiography, could predict mean pulmonary wedge pressure in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Forty-four patients with no left ventricular systolic dysfunction (left ventricular fractional shortening > or =25%) were studied. Forty patients with systolic dysfunction (dilated cardiomyopathy group) served as control. Mitral and pulmonary venous flow velocity curves were recorded with the pulsed-Doppler method and were related to mean pulmonary wedge pressure obtained by right heart catheterization. In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy group, the systolic (r=-0.15, P=0.335) and diastolic (r=0.35, P=0.022) forward flow velocity were poorly related to mean pulmonary wedge pressure, whereas the velocity of atrial reversal (r=0.68, P<0.001) correlated well with mean pulmonary wedge pressure. In dilated cardiomyopathy group, the systolic (r=-0.51, P=0.001) and diastolic (r=0.60, P<0.001) forward flow velocity were strongly related to mean pulmonary wedge pressure. With the cut-off value set at the velocity of atrial reversal >30 cm/s in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy group, the sensitivity for predicting mean pulmonary wedge pressure >15 mmHg was 79% and the specificity was 73%. In conclusion, the atrial component of the pulmonary venous flow can be used to predict mean pulmonary wedge pressure in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.