Right Ventricular and Right Atrial Function Are Less Compromised in Pulmonary Hypertension Secondary to Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction: A Comparison With Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension With Similar Pressure Overload

Jessie van Wezenbeek, Azar Kianzad, Arno van de Bovenkamp, Jeroen Wessels, Sophia A. Mouratoglou, Natalia J. Braams, Samara M.A. Jansen, Eva Meulblok, Lilian J. Meijboom, J. Tim Marcus, Anton Vonk Noordegraaf, Marie José Goumans, Harm Jan Bogaard, M. Louis Handoko, Frances S. de Man

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BACKGROUND: Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a prevalent disorder for which no effective treatment yet exists. Pulmonary hypertension (PH) and right atrial (RA) and ventricular (RV) dysfunction are frequently observed. The question remains whether the PH with the associated RV/RA dysfunction in HFpEF are markers of disease severity. METHODS: To obtain insight in the relative importance of pressure-overload and left-to-right interaction, we compared RA and RV function in 3 groups: 1. HFpEF (n=13); 2. HFpEF-PH (n=33), and; 3. pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) matched to pulmonary artery pressures of HFpEF-PH (PH limited to mPAP ≥30 and ≤50 mmHg) (n=47). Patients underwent right heart catheterization and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. RESULTS: The right ventricle in HFpEF-PH was less dilated and hypertrophied than in PAH. In addition, RV ejection fraction was more preserved (HFpEF-PH: 52±11 versus PAH: 36±12%). RV filling patterns differed: vena cava backflow during RA contraction was observed in PAH only. In HFpEF-PH, RA pressure was elevated throughout the cardiac cycle (HFpEF-PH: 10 [8-14] versus PAH: 7 [5-10] mm Hg), while RA volume was smaller, reflecting excessive RA stiffness (HFpEF-PH: 0.14 [0.10-0.17] versus PAH: 0.08 [0.06-0.11] mm Hg/mL). RA stiffness was associated with an increased eccentricity index (HFpEF-PH: 1.3±0.2 versus PAH: 1.2±0.1) and interatrial pressure gradient (9 [5 to 12] versus 2 [-2 to 5] mm Hg). CONCLUSIONS: RV/RA function was less compromised in HFpEF-PH than in PAH, despite similar pressure-overload. Increased RA pressure and stiffness in HFpEF-PH were explained by left atrial/RA-interaction. Therefore, our results indicate that increased RA pressure is not a sign of overt RV failure but rather a reflection of HFpEF-severity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E008726
JournalCirculation. Heart failure
Issue number2
Early online date23 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • heart failure
  • pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • right atrium
  • right ventricle
  • ventricular dysfunction

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