To show that right ventricular wall thickness (RVWT) measurements can be made with precision by echocardiography, we correlated these measurements with those obtained at necropsy in 32 terminal patients. The correlation between the echocardiographic diastolic right ventricular wall thickness (mean 4.0 +/- 1.62 mm) and the necropsy measurement (mean 4.3 +/- 1.52 mm) was good (r = 0.83) in all 32 patients with normal or increased right ventricular wall thickness at necropsy. In 19 patients without necropsy evidence of right ventricular hypertrophy (RVWT less than or equal to 4 mm), the mean diastole and systolic right ventricular wall thickness were 3.0 +/- 0.92 mm and 5.1 +/- 1.64 mm, respectively. In 13 patients with necropsy evidence of right ventricular hypertrophy (RVWT greater than or equal to 5 mm), the mean diastolic and systolic right ventricular wall thicknesses were 5.3 +/- 1.56mm and 8.2 +/- 1.88 mm, respectively. We conclude that technically satisfactory echocardiograms of the right ventricular wall thicknesses. Echocardiography can reliably estimate the diastolic wall thickness and may be helpful in the evaluation of right ventricular hypertrophy.
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