Cardiopulmonary ultrasound correlates of pleural effusions in patients with congestive heart failure


Pleural effusions are common in patients with congestive heart failure. However, there is a need to assess systematically the correlation between effusion volume, extravascular lung water and echocardiographic parameters. We used combined cardiopulmonary ultrasound to evaluate the relationship between effusion volume, extravascular lung water, and echocardiographic parameters in patients with congestive heart failure.


Patients who were hospitalized for congestive heart failure underwent combined cardiopulmonary ultrasound. A semiquantitative score of pleural effusions was derived by pulmonary ultrasound and extravascular lung water was estimated by ultrasound lung comets. The measurements were compared with echocardiographic and clinical results.


Among 168 patients (median age 66 years, 69.6% men), 102 (60.7%) had pleural effusions, 84.3% bilateral, 10.8% right-sided, and 4.9% left-sided. High pleural effusion scores were associated with high ultrasound lung comet scores (P < 0.0001). Compared with patients without pleural effusions, patients with pleural effusions were significantly older and had higher systolic pulmonary artery pressure (SPAP), NT-proBNP, New York Heart Association scale, larger left atrium, larger right ventricle, more severe mitral regurgitation, and worse left and right heart function. Adjusted for age, multiple logistic regression analysis showed that SPAP (OR 5.688, P = 0.006) and E/A (OR 3.941, P = 0.043) were the significant variables and risk factors associated with pleural effusions in heart failure.


For patients with left heart failure, the degree of pleural effusions was associated with pulmonary congestion. Elevated SPAP and E/A were the main risk factors for the formation of pleural effusions in patients with congestive heart failure.


Echocardiography; Heart failure; Pleural effusion; Ultrasound.

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