Right ventricular dysfunction in acute heart failure from emergency department to discharge: Predictors and clinical implications

Nicholas E. Harrison, Robert Ehrman, Mark Favot, Laura Gowland, Jacob Lenning, Aiden Abidov, Sarah Henry, Sushane Gupta, Robert Welch, Phillip Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Among acute heart failure (AHF) inpatients, right ventricular dysfunction (RVD) predicts clinical outcomes independent of left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. Prior studies have not accounted for congestion severity, show conflicting findings on echocardiography (echo) timing, and excluded emergency department (ED) patients. We describe for the first time the epidemiology, predictors, and outcomes of RVD in AHF starting with earliest ED treatment. Methods: Point-of-care echo and 10-point lung ultrasound (LUS) were obtained in 84 prospectively enrolled AHF patients at two EDs, ≤1 h after first intravenous diuresis, vasodilator, and/or positive pressure ventilation (PPV). Echo and LUS were repeated at 24, 72, and 168 h, unless discharged sooner (n = 197 exams). RVD was defined as <17 mm tricuspid annulus plane systolic excursion (TAPSE), our primary measure. To identify correlates of RVD, a multivariable linear mixed model (LMM) of TAPSE through time was fit. Possible predictors were specified a priori and/or with p ≤ 0.1 difference between patients with/without RVD. Data were standardized and centered to facilitate comparison of relative strength of association between predictors of TAPSE. Survival curves for a 30-day death or AHF readmission primary outcome were assessed for RVD, LUS severity, and LVEF. A multivariable generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) for the outcome was used to adjust RVD for LVEF and LUS. Results: 46% (n = 39) of patients at ED arrival showed RVD by TAPSE (median 18 mm, interquartile range 13–23). 18 variables with p ≤ 0.1 unadjusted difference with/without RVD, and 12 a priori predictors of RVD were included in the multivariable LMM model of TAPSE through time (R2 = 0.76). Missed antihypertensive medication (within 7 days), ED PPV, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease history, LVEF, LUS congestion severity, and right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) were the strongest multivariable predictors of RVD, respectively, and the only to reach statistical significance (p < 0.05). 30-day death or AHF readmission was associated with RVD at ED arrival (hazard ratio {HR} 3.31 {95%CI: 1.28–8.53}, p = 0.009), ED to discharge decrease in LUS (HR 0.11 {0.01–0.85}, p < 0.0001 for top quartile Δ), but not LVEF (quartile 2 vs. 1 HR 0.78 {0.22–2.68}, 3 vs. 1 HR 0.55 {0.16–1.92}, 4 vs. 1 HR 0.32 {0.09–1.22}, p = 0.30). The area under the receiver operating curve on GLMM for the primary outcome by TAPSE (p = 0.0012), ΔLUS (p = 0.0005), and LVEF (p = 0.8347) was 0.807. Conclusion: In this observational study, RVD was common in AHF, and predicted by congestion on LUS, LVEF, RVSP, and comorbidities from ED arrival through discharge. 30-day death or AHF-rehospitalization was associated with RVD at ED arrival and ΔLUS severity, but not LVEF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Cardiology
  • Echocardiography
  • Emergency medicine
  • Heart failure
  • Lung ultrasound
  • Right ventricular dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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