Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Clinical Utility of Echocardiography in Former Preterm Infants with Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia.



The clinical utility of echocardiography for the diagnosis of pulmonary vascular disease (PVD) in former preterm infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is not established. Elevated pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) rather than pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) is the hallmark of PVD. We evaluated the utility of echocardiography in infants with BPD in diagnosing pulmonary hypertension and PVD (PVR >3 Wood units × m2) assessed by cardiac catheterization.


A retrospective single center study of 29 infants born ≤29 weeks of gestational age with BPD who underwent cardiac catheterization and echocardiography was performed. PVD was considered present by echocardiography if the tricuspid valve regurgitation jet peak velocity was >2.9 m/sec, post-tricuspid valve shunt systolic flow velocity estimated a right ventricular systolic pressure >35 mm Hg, or systolic septal flattening was present. The utility (accuracy, sensitivity, and positive predictive value [PPV]) of echocardiography in the diagnosis of PVD was tested. Subgroup analysis in patients without post-tricuspid valve shunts was performed. Echocardiographic estimations of right ventricular pressure, dimensions, function, and pulmonary flow measurements were evaluated for correlation with PVR.


The duration between echocardiography and cardiac catheterization was a median of 1 day (interquartile range, 1-4 days). Accuracy, sensitivity, and PPV of echocardiography in diagnosing PVD were 72%, 90.5%, and 76%, respectively. Accuracy, sensitivity, and PPV increased to 93%, 91.7%, and 100%, respectively, when infants with post-tricuspid valve shunts were excluded. Echocardiography had poor accuracy in estimating the degree of PAP elevation by cardiac catheterization. In infants without post-tricuspid valve shunts, there was moderate to good correlation between indexed PVR and right ventricular myocardial performance index (rho = 0.89, P = .005), systolic to diastolic time index (0.84, P < .001), right to left ventricular diameter ratio at end systole (0.66, P = .003), and pulmonary artery acceleration time (0.48, P = .05).


Echocardiography performs well in screening for PVD in infants with BPD and may be diagnostic in the absence of a post-tricuspid valve shunt. However, cardiac catheterization is needed to assess the degree of PAP elevation and PVR. The diagnostic utility of echocardiographic measurements that correlate with PVR should be evaluated prospectively in this patient population.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View