Right atrial to left atrial area ratio on early echocardiography predicts long-term survival after acute pulmonary embolism

Vincent Chow, Austin Chin Chwan Ng, Tommy Chung, Liza Thomas, Leonard Kritharides*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Current guidelines recommend that transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) should be performed for acute risk stratification following acute pulmonary embolism (PE), but it is unclear whether the initial TTE can predict long-term outcome beyond six months. We sought to assess the potential of the initial right atrial (RA) to left atrial (LA) area ratio (RA/LA ratio) on TTE to predict long-term mortality in survivors of submassive PE. Methods. A derivation cohort comprised a previously reported group of 35 consecutive patients with acute PE who were intensively studied by serial TTE at 1, 2, 5 days, 2, 6, 12 and 26 weeks and RA/LA ratio related to long-term outcome. The Day 1 RA/LA ratio findings were then further related to long-term outcome in 158 patients followed for 3.6 ± 2.3 years. Results: In the derivation cohort, total mortality was 28.6% (n = 10) following a mean (±standard deviation) follow-up of 4.3 ± 1.9 years. The RA/LA ratio was highly dynamic, being increased at day 1, but normalised rapidly within 2-5 days of presentation and this was most marked amongst long-term non-survivors. A RA/LA ratio > 1.0 on day 1 was independently associated with a three-fold increase in long-term mortality on Kaplan-Meier analysis. Pooled analysis of 158 patient indicated that age, Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI), simplified Pulmonary Embolism Severity Score (PESI), troponin T, day 1 RA/LA Ratio and pulmonary arterial systolic pressure (PASP) were univariate predictors of long-term mortality. Multivariate analysis identified Day 1 RA/LA Ratio (HR 1.7 per 10% increase,p = 0.002), CCI (HR 2.2 per 1 unit increase, p = 0.004) and age (HR 1.1, p = 0.03) as the only independent predictors of long-term mortality. Conclusion: A RA/LA Ratio >1.0 at presentation with acute PE was associated with a three-fold increased risk of long-term mortality. The RA/LA ratio on presentation with an acute PE is a simple, novel predictor of long-term survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalCardiovascular Ultrasound
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Right atrial to left atrial area ratio on early echocardiography predicts long-term survival after acute pulmonary embolism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this