Overestimation of pulmonary artery occlusion pressure in pulmonary hypertension due to partial occlusion

James W. Leatherman, Robert S. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate partial occlusion in patients with pulmonary hypertension with regard to a) the degree to which it leads to overestimation of pulmonary artery occlusion pressure (Ppao) and b) identification of factors that could enhance its recognition. Design: Observational descriptive study. Setting: Medical intensive care unit. Patients: Fourteen patients with pulmonary hypertension and an increased pulmonary artery diastolic pressure (Ppad) - Ppao gradient (≥10 mm Hg). Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: The Ppao was recorded during partial occlusion (partial Ppao) and after catheter repositioning to obtain a lower, more accurate value (best Ppao). The error due to partial occlusion, defined as the difference between the partial Ppao and the best Ppao, was 13 ± 5 mm Hg (range, 6-21 mm Hg). The previously widened Ppad - Ppao gradient invariably narrowed during partial occlusion and then increased by 13 ± 5 mm Hg (range, 5-23) during the best Ppao measurement. There was a moderate correlation between the error due to partial occlusion (partial Ppao - best Ppao) and both the mean pulmonary artery pressure (r = .77, p < .01) and the Ppad - Ppao gradient (r = .79, p < .01). Conclusions: Partial occlusion in patients with pulmonary hypertension may lead to significant overestimation of the Ppao and should be suspected when there is a substantial increase in the Ppao without a concomitant increase in the Ppad, as reflected by a marked narrowing of a previously widened Ppad - Ppao gradient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-97
Number of pages5
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Catheterization
  • Critical care
  • Hemodynamics
  • Hypertension
  • Physiologic monitoring
  • Pulmonary
  • Pulmonary artery flotation catheter
  • Pulmonary occlusion pressure


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