What is the role of echocardiography in the workup of hypoventilation syndromes?

Updated: Jul 22, 2021
  • Author: Jazeela Fayyaz, DO; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Echocardiography is indicated to evaluate patients with hypoventilation syndromes for evidence of pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular enlargement. It also is useful to determine the presence of other potential complicating factors, such as left ventricular dysfunction and valvular dysfunction. [12]

On 2-dimensional (2D) echocardiography, patients with pulmonary artery hypertension have increased thickness of the right ventricle. As pulmonary hypertension becomes severe, a paradoxical bulging of the interventricular septum into the left ventricle occurs during systole. Later, the right ventricle dilates, becomes hypokinetic, and the septum develops diastolic flattening.

Doppler echocardiography is the most reliable method of estimating pulmonary artery pressure (PAP). Patients with pulmonary artery hypertension may have functional tricuspid valve regurgitation. The maximum tricuspid regurgitant (TR) jet velocity is recorded, and the PAP is calculated using a modified Bernoulli equation: PAP systolic = (4 x TR jet velocity squared) + RAP. RAP is right atrial pressure, estimated from the size of the inferior vena cava (IVC) and respiratory variation in flow in the IVC.

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