The pulmonary capillary wedge pressure accurately reflects both normal and elevated left atrial pressure

Anikó I. Nagy, Ashwin Venkateshvaran, Pravat Kumar Dash, Banajit Barooah, Béla Merkely, Reidar Winter, Aristomenis Manouras

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Background Pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) is routinely used as an indirect measure of the left atrial pressure (LAP), although the accuracy of this estimate, especially under pathological hemodynamic conditions, remains controversial. Objectives The aim of this prospective study was to investigate the reliability of PCWP for the evaluation of LAP under different hemodynamic conditions. Methods Simultaneous left and right heart catheterization data of 117 patients with pure mitral stenosis, obtained before and immediately after percutaneous mitral comissurotomy, were analyzed. Results A strong correlation and agreement between PCWP and LAP measurements was demonstrated (correlation coefficient = 0.97, mean bias ± CI, 0.3 ± -3.7 to 4.2 mm Hg). Comparison of measurements performed within a 5-minute interval and those performed simultaneously revealed that simultaneous pressure acquisition yielded better agreement between the 2 methods (bias ± CI, 1.82 ± 1.98 mm Hg). In contrast to previous observations, the discrepancy between the 2 measures did not increase with elevated PCWP. Multiple regression analysis failed to identify hemodynamic confounders of the discrepancy between the 2 pressures. The ability of PCWP to distinguish between normal and elevated LAP (cutoff set at 12 and 15 mm Hg, respectively), as tested by receiver operating characteristics analysis, demonstrated a remarkably high diagnostic accuracy (area under the curve: 0.989 and 0.996, respectively). Conclusions Although the described limits of agreement may not allow the interchangeability of PCWP and LAP, especially at lower pressure ranges, our data support the clinical use of PCWP as a robust and accurate estimate of LAP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)876-883
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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