Clinical correlates and reference intervals for pulmonary artery systolic pressure among echocardiographically normal subjects

Brendan McQuillan, Michael H. Picard, Marcia Leavitt, Arthur E. Weyman

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Abstract

Background - Data in normal human subjects on the factors affecting pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) are limited. We determined the correlates of and established a reference range for PASP as determined by Doppler transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) from a clinical echocardiographic database of 102 818 patients, of whom 15 596 (15%) had a normal Doppler TTE study. Methods and Results - A normal TTE was based on normal cardiac structure and function during complete Doppler TTE studies. The PASP was calculated by use of the modified Bernoulli equation, with right atrial pressure assumed to be 10 mm Hg. Among TTE normal subjects, 3790 subjects (2432 women, 1358 men) from 1 to 89 years old had a measured PASP. The mean PASP was 28.3±4.9 mm Hg (range 15 to 57 mm Hg). PASP was independently associated with age, body mass index (BMI), male sex, left ventricular posterior wall thickness, and left ventricular ejection fraction (P<0.001). The estimated upper 95% limit for PASP among lower-risk subjects was 37.2 mm Hg. A PASP >40 mm Hg was found in 6% of those >50 years old and 5% of those with a BMI >30 kg/m2. Conclusions - Among 3790 echocardiographically normal subjects, PASP was associated with age, BMI, sex, wall thickness, and ejection fraction. Of these subjects, 28% had a PASP >30 mm Hg, and the expected upper limit of PASP may include 40 mm Hg in older or obese subjects. These findings support the use of age- and BMI-corrected values in establishing the expected normal range for PASP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2797-2802
Number of pages6
JournalCirculation
Volume104
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2001

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