Independent evaluation of a simple clinical prediction rule to identify right ventricular dysfunction in patients with shortness of breath

Frances M. Russell*, Christopher L. Moore, D. Mark Courtney, Christopher Kabrhel, Howard A. Smithline, Kristen E. Nordenholz, Peter B. Richman, Brian J. O'Neil, Michael C. Plewa, Daren M. Beam, Ronald Mastouri, Jeffrey A. Kline

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background Many patients have unexplained persistent dyspnea after negative computed tomographic pulmonary angiography (CTPA). We hypothesized that many of these patients have isolated right ventricular (RV) dysfunction from treatable causes. We previously derived a clinical decision rule (CDR) for predicting RV dysfunction consisting of persistent dyspnea and normal CTPA, finding that 53% of CDR-positive patients had isolated RV dysfunction. Our goal is to validate this previously derived CDR by measuring the prevalence of RV dysfunction and outcomes in dyspneic emergency department patients. Methods A secondary analysis of a prospective observational multicenter study that enrolled patients presenting with suspected PE was performed. We included patients with persistent dyspnea, a nonsignificant CTPA, and formal echo performed. Right ventricular dysfunction was defined as RV hypokinesis and/or dilation with or without moderate to severe tricuspid regurgitation. Results A total of 7940 patients were enrolled. Two thousand six hundred sixteen patients were analyzed after excluding patients without persistent dyspnea and those with a significant finding on CTPA. One hundred ninety eight patients had echocardiography performed as standard care. Of those, 19% (95% confidence interval [CI], 14%-25%) and 33% (95% CI, 25%-42%) exhibited RV dysfunction and isolated RV dysfunction, respectively. Patients with isolated RV dysfunction or overload were more likely than those without RV dysfunction to have a return visit to the emergency department within 45 days for the same complaint (39% vs 18%; 95% CI of the difference, 4%-38%). Conclusion This simple clinical prediction rule predicted a 33% prevalence of isolated RV dysfunction or overload. Patients with isolated RV dysfunction had higher recidivism rates and a trend toward worse outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-547
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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