Background: Right ventricular (RV) function has been found to be a major factor of exercise capacity in patients with heart failure. However, the role of RV function in exercise capacity in healthy subjects has not been well studied. This study aims to validate the role of RV strain derived from speckle tracking echocardiography for exercise capacity for health check-up subjects. Methods: This study prospectively recruited subjects from a routine health examination. All of them were symptom free. RV function represented by RV strain was derived from speckle tracking echocardiography in addition to traditional echocardiography parameters. Functional capacity was determined by a symptom limited treadmill exercise test with the Bruce protocol. Results: Among 164 recruited subjects (age 52.2 ±9.2 years, 66.4% male), 32 subjects represented impaired functional capacity (MET<8), which was significantly correlated with age, left ventricular mass index, left ventricular filling pressure (E/e′), global longitudinal strain of the left ventricle (LVGLS) (-16.0±2.5% vs. -18.9±3.8%, p < 0.001) and RV free wall strain (RVLS-FW) (-17.0±4.9% vs. -21.9±3.2%, p <0.001). After multivariate logistic regression, RVS-FW was an independent predictor for impaired functional capacity (OR 1.62, CI1.32-1.98; p <0.001). Conclusions: In conclusion, RV strain is independently associated with exercise capacity for health check-up subjects. RV function is an important factor for functional capacity.
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