Right atrial emptying fraction non-invasively predicts mortality in pulmonary hypertension

Konstadina Darsaklis, Matthew E. Dickson, William Cornwell, Colby R. Ayers, Fernando Torres, Kelly M. Chin, Susan Matulevicius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Right-sided heart failure is the most common cause of death in pulmonary hypertension (PH). Echocardiographic measurements of right atrial (RA) size are associated with worse outcome in PH, however the association between RA function and death in PH has not been well-described. 160 PH patients (World Health Organization groups 1–5) underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI) and right heart catheterization (RHC) within 6 weeks of each other at a tertiary care academic medical center in the United States. We measured cMRI RA maximum and minimum volumes indexed to body surface area and calculated RA emptying fraction (RAEF). We evaluated the relationship between RAEF and clinical variables with death using Cox proportional hazard models. 57 deaths occurred during a median follow-up of 3.5 years (36 % died overall, 10 % per year). RAEF was directly correlated in univariate analyses with right ventricular (RV) ejection fraction, left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction, LV size, cardiac index, absence of tricuspid and pulmonic regurgitation, absence of pericardial effusion, estimated glomerular filtration rate, 6-minute walk distance, and pulmonary arterial oxygen saturation, whereas it was inversely correlated with death, BNP, heart rate, mean RA pressure, mean PA pressure, pulmonary and systemic vascular resistance, RV size, and RA size. Using multivariate analyses, RAEF had a robust inverse association with death after adjusting for measured risk factors (HR per 5 % change in RAEF: 0.83 [95 % CI 0.73–0.94], p = 0.003). In PH patients, decreased RAEF by cMRI is independently associated with worse survival after adjustment for other risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1121-1130
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Atrium
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Pulmonary heart disease
  • Right heart failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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