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01-07-2013 | Original Article | Uitgave 7-8/2013 Open Access

Netherlands Heart Journal 7-8/2013

Latent pulmonary hypertension in atrial septal defect: Dynamic stress echocardiography reveals unapparent pulmonary hypertension and confirms rapid normalisation after ASD closure

Netherlands Heart Journal > Uitgave 7-8/2013
S. A. Lange, M. U. Braun, S. P. Schoen, R. H. Strasser



Closure of atrial septal defects (ASD) prevents pulmonary hypertension, right heart failure and thromboembolic stroke. The exact timing for ASD closure is controversial.


In a prospective study to address the question whether unapparent pulmonary hypertension can be revealed prior to right ventricular (RV) remodelling, patients were investigated before and 6, 12, and 24 months after ASD closure using exercise stress echocardiography (ESE) and ergospirometry (n = 24).


At rest, RV systolic pressure (RVSP) was normal in 58.8 %, slightly elevated in 26.5 %, and moderately elevated in 11.8 %. One patient showed severe pulmonary hypertension. During ESE, all patients with normal RVSP at rest exhibited an increase (25.7 ± 1.2 mmHg vs. 45.3 ± 2.3 mmHg, p < 0.001). After closure the RVSP was lower, both at rest and ESE. RV diameters decreased too. Tricuspid annulus plane systolic excursion (TAPSE) at rest remained lower after closure (24.0 ± 0.9 vs. 22.0 ± 0.9 mm, p < 0.05). TAPSE in ESE was elevated, and stayed stable after closure (30.1 ± 1.8 mm vs. 29.3 ± 1.6 mm). Before closure, RV systolic tissue velocities (sa) at rest were normal and decreased after closure (14.0 ± 1.0 cm/s vs. 11.5 ± 0.7 (6 month) vs. 10.6 ± 0.5 cm/s (12 month), p < 0.05). During ESE, sa velocity was similar before and after closure (23.0 ± 1.3 cm/s vs. 23.3 ± 1.9 cm/s). Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2/kg) did not differ between baseline and follow-ups.


Latent pulmonary hypertension may become apparent in ESE. ASD closure leads to a significant reduction in this stress-induced pulmonary hypertension and to a decrease in the right heart diameters indicating reverse RV remodelling. RV functional parameters at rest did not improve. The VO2/kg did not change after ASD closure.

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Netherlands Heart Journal

Het Netherlands Heart Journal wordt uitgegeven in samenwerking met de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Cardiologie en de Nederlandse Hartstichting. Het tijdschrift is Engelstalig en wordt gratis beschikbaa ...

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