Optimal Tricuspid Regurgitation Velocity to Screen for Pulmonary Hypertension in Tertiary Referral Centers


      A mean pulmonary artery pressure >20 mm Hg now defines pulmonary hypertension. We hypothesize that echocardiographic thresholds must be adjusted.

      Research Question

      Should tricuspid regurgitation velocity thresholds to screen for pulmonary hypertension be revised, given the new hemodynamic definition?

      Study Design and Methods

      This multicenter retrospective study included 1,608 patients who underwent both echocardiography and right heart catherization within 4 weeks. The discovery cohort consisted of 1,081 individuals; the validation cohort included 527. Screening criteria for pulmonary hypertension were derived with the use of receiver operating characteristic analysis and the Youden index, assuming equal cost for false-positive and -negative classification. A lower threshold was calculated with the use of a predefined sensitivity: 95%.


      In the discovery cohort, echocardiographic tricuspid regurgitation velocity had a good discrimination for pulmonary hypertension: area under the curve, 88.4 (95% CI, 85.3-91.5). A 3.4-m/s threshold provided a 78% sensitivity, 87% specificity, and 6.13 positive likelihood ratio to detect pulmonary hypertension; 2.7 m/s had a 95% sensitivity and 0.12 negative likelihood ratio to exclude pulmonary hypertension. In the validation cohort, the discovery threshold of 2.7 m/s provided sensitivity and negative likelihood ratios of 80% and 0.31, respectively. Right cardiac size improved detection of pulmonary hypertension in the lower tricuspid regurgitation velocity groups.


      Our data support a lower tricuspid regurgitation velocity of approximately 2.7 m/s for screening pulmonary hypertension, with a high sensitivity in tertiary referral centers. Right heart chamber measurements improve the diagnostic yield of echocardiography.

      Graphical Abstract

      Key Words


      AUC (area under the curve), mPAP (mean pulmonary artery pressure), NLR (negative-likelihood ratio), PAWP (pulmonary artery wedge pressure), PH (pulmonary hypertension), PLR (positive-likelihood ratio), RA (right atrial), RAE (right atrial enlargement), RHC (right heart catheterization), ROC (receiver operating curve), RV (right ventricle), RVE (right ventricle enlargement), RVSP (right ventricular systolic pressure), TRV (tricuspid regurgitation velocity), TTE (transthoracic echocardiogram)
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