Noninvasive assessment of left ventricular performance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Kline, L.E.; Crawford, M.H.; MacDonald, W.J.; Schelbert, H.; O'Rourke, R.A.; Moser, K.M.
Chest 72(5): 558-564
ISSN/ISBN: 0012-3692 PMID: 913131 DOI: 10.1378/chest.72.5.558
In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the clinical differentiation between dyspnea due to left ventricular dysfunction and that due to pulmonary events is difficult. Invasive techniques have been the only reliable diagnostic approach. To assess the potential value of noninvasive techniques in this context, 27 patients with COPD and with clinically suspected left ventricular dysfunction were studied by echocardiography, radionuclide angiography, and right cardiac catheterization. In 20 (74%), adequate echocardiogram were obtained. Of these 20 patients, 17 had normal pulmonary arterial wedge pressures at rest and during submaximal handgrip exercise. Sixteen of these 17 had normal left ventricular performance by all three echocardiographic criteria used; in one patient, two criteria were not interpretable, but the third was normal. Results of radionuclide studies were normal in 15 patients, borderline in one, and not measurable in one. Of the three patients with abnormal wedge pressures, at least one echocardiographic criterion was abnormal in all. Radionuclide data were abnormal in two and not measurable in one. We conclude that left ventricular dysfunction is infrequently present in patients with COPD in whom such dysfunction is clinically suspected, that the two noninvasive techniques described here can be applied successfully to a high percentage of patients with COPD, and that the agreement among echocardiographic, radionuclide, and wedge pressure data is excellent.