Echocardiographic B-mode evaluation of the right heart in older people: The ActiFE Study.
Right heart B-mode echocardiography reference values have been predominantly obtained in younger age cohorts (<65years). Aims of the study were to describe and evaluate the feasibility of right heart B-mode echocardiography in a large geriatric cohort and to analyze standard parameters in defined subgroups with or without any evidence for structural cardiac disease.ActiFE-Ulm study is a population-based cohort study including a sample of people>=65years old living in the region of Ulm, Germany. Echocardiography including right heart parameters was performed within a cardiovascular follow-up of 688 subjects.Non-obtainability of right heart B-mode data was rather not a consequence of accompanying cardiac diseases or risk factors but of a more obese body composition. Mean values of right heart measurements of our subpopulation of subjects without evidence for structural cardiac disease were continuously higher than those of the guidelines (e.g. mean right ventricular end diastolic area 23.5±5.6cm(2) (males), 20.3±5.0cm(2) (females)). On an individual basis, guideline-suggested abnormality thresholds were also often exceeded, whereas this situation occurred more often in male than in female subjects.Methodically, right heart B-mode echocardiography in older subjects is challenging. Our results suggest an ageing-associated right heart enlargement. Utilization of published right heart reference values in older adults seems to be problematic and in clinical practice, they always have to be interpreted within the clinical and functional context and in relation to other right heart echocardiographic parameters.