Pulmonary Artery Wedge Pressure Respiratory Variation Predicts Hemodynamic Response to Systemic Vasodilators

S. P. Maurides, D. Blankinship, K. Panneerselvam, G. R. Jackson, S. Ghio, R. J. Tedford, B. A. Houston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: Obesity and lung disease may enhance pulmonary arterial wedge pressure (PAWP) respiratory variation during right heart catheterization (RHC). However, physiologic factors leading to PAWP respiratory variation (PAWPvar) are unknown, as are the implications of PAWPvar. We hypothesized that PAWPvar is associated with baseline PAWP and would predict response to sodium nitroprusside (SNP). METHODS: We performed a retrospective study of 88 RHC studies in 79 cardiomyopathy patients free of severe lung disease, 51 with SNP challenge, at MUSC from 2012 to 2019. PAWPvar was defined as expiratory minus inspiratory PAWP. RESULTS: Baseline %PAWPvar was inversely correlated with baseline PAWP (R = -0.5) (Figure 1A). SNP administration led to increased %PAWPvar (+27%, p<0.01; Figure 1B). Patients with low baseline PAWPvar (<median) had an increase in PAWPvar with SNP (3 ± 4 mmHg) while those with high baseline PAWPvar (>median) did not (-0.6 ± 4 mmHg; p=0.003). Those who had >median PAWPvar increase with SNP had greater cardiac output (CO) augmentation compared with those who had <median increase in PAWPvar (1.7 ± 1.5 vs. 0.9 ± 0.7 l/min, p= 0.02). CONCLUSION: PAWPvar declines with elevated PAWP. Further, PAWPvar increases as PAWP declines with systemic vasodilation, and those with reduced baseline PAWPvar realize greater augmentation of PAWPvar with SNP. This demonstrates that PAWPvar is reflective of both the relative left heart preload and afterload states and not due to obesity and/or pulmonary processes alone. Thus, for any given left heart filling pressure, patients with high PAWPvar or low PAWPvar may represent disparate physiologic states with different responses to afterload reduction. Indeed, we found that patients with lower baseline PAWPvar and greater SNP-induced augmentation of PAWPvar realized more SNP-associated improvement in CO. Our findings indicate that PAWPvar is a meaningful physiologic parameter which may predict response to systemic vasodilation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S233
JournalThe Journal of heart and lung transplantation : the official publication of the International Society for Heart Transplantation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation


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