Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) affects half of all patients with heart failure. While previously neglected, the right ventricle (RV) has sparked interest in recent years as a means for better understanding this condition and as a potential therapeutic target.
Right ventricular dysfunction (RVD) is present in 4%–50% of patients with HFpEF. The RV is intimately connected to the pulmonary circulation, and pulmonary hypertension is commonly implicated in the pathophysiology of RVD. The development of RVD in HFpEF may also be driven by comorbidities, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, obstructive sleep apnoea and atrial fibrillation. The evaluation of RVD is particularly challenging due to anatomical and structural factors, as well as unique physiological characteristics of this chamber like load and interventricular dependency. Fractional area change, tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion and tricuspid annular systolic velocity are commonly used measurements of RV function. Speckle tracking echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) are also gaining attention as important tools for the assessment of RV structure, fibre deformation and systolic performance. Further research is needed to confirm the utility and prognostic significance of RV [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography imaging as FDG accumulation is suggested to increase with progressive RVD. Targeted pharmacotherapy with phosphodiesterase inhibitors, guanylate–cyclase stimulators, nitrates and inhaled inorganic nitrites have yet to demonstrate improvement in RVD, compelling the need for evaluation and discovery of novel pharmacological interventions for this entity.
- heart failure with preserved ejection fraction
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