Hypertension is an important cardiovascular risk factor worldwide. It is associated with left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). Both diastolic and systolic dysfunction may occur in hypertensive heart disease. The ventricles are structurally and functionally interdependent on each other. This was an echocardiographic study intended to describe the impact of left ventricular pressure overload and hypertrophy due to hypertension on right ventricular morphology and function.
One hundred subjects with systemic hypertension and 50 age- and gender-matched normotensive control subjects were used for this study. Two-dimensional (2-D), M-mode and Doppler echocardiographic studies were done to evaluate the structure and function of both ventricles. Data analysis was done using the SPSS 16.0 (Chicago, Ill). Statistical significance was taken as p < 0.05.
Age and gender were comparable between the two groups. Hypertensive subjects had significantly increased left ventricular end-diastolic dimensions, posterior wall thickness, interventricular septal thickness, left atrial dimensions and left ventricular mass and index. The mitral valve E/A ratio was reduced among hypertensive subjects when compared to normal controls (1.15 ± 0.75 vs 1.44 ± 0.31, respectively; p < 0.05). A similar pattern was found in the tricuspid E/A ratio (1.14 ± 0.36 vs 1.29 ± 0.30, respectively; p < 0.05). Hypertensive subjects also had reduced right ventricular internal dimensions (20.7 ± 8.0 vs 23.1 ± 3.1 mm, respectively; p < 0.001) but similar peak pulmonary systolic velocity. The mitral e/a ratio correlated well with the tricuspid e/a ratio.
Systemic hypertension is associated with right ventricular morphological and functional abnormalities. Right ventricular diastolic dysfunction may be an early clue to hypertensive heart disease.
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