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Scripta Scientifica Medica

Subxiphoid echocardiographic evaluation of right heart function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Branimir Kanazirev, Zhaneta Georgieva


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to evaluate by subxiphoid echocardiography the sensitivity and specificity of various echocardiographic parameters for early diagnosis and survival of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Subxiphoid echocardiography was performed in 75 COPD patients to evaluate inferior vena cava dimension (IVCD), its collapsibility index (CI), end-diastolic right ventricular dimension (EDRVD), end-diastolic right ventricular thickness (EDRVT) (M-mode), right atrial area (RAA), right ventricular areas and right ventricular area shortening fraction. Results were compared to those of 30 healthy controls. Patients in sinus rhythm were divided in two according to there NYHA class (I+II and III+IV) an in three according to there acid-base blood gases status.

RESULTS: All the indexes were equally and significantly changed in the patients with RVH/PH and those with COPD and atrial fibrillation (AF) when compared to controls. COPD patients with neither ECG criteria for RV hypertrophy (RVH), nor x-ray evidence of pulmonary hypertension (PH) presented with significantly greater EDRVA and RAA and normal IVC/CI. In both cases, according to cardiac and respiratory severity status subdivision, significant changes in any indexes with worsening of cardiac and respiratory failure were observed. Best sensitivity, specificity and predictive accuracy for early diagnosis were established for IVCD/CI and EDRVT. During the two-year study period, seven (9%) patients died in end stage respiratory and heart failure because of considerably reduced right heart performance.

CONCLUSION: Subxiphoid echocardiography may be used for early detection of cor pulmonale, evaluation of right heart dysfunction and prognosis in COPD patients.

Scripta Scientifica Medica 2013; 45(2): 55-60.

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About The Authors

Branimir Kanazirev
Medical University of Varna

Department of Internal Medicine, St. Marina University Hospital of Varna

Zhaneta Georgieva
Medical University of Varna

Department of Internal Medicine, St. Marina University Hospital of Varna

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