Due to the right ventricle’s (RV) unique geometry and cylindrical contraction pattern, assessing its function on echocardiography can be difficult. One of the more simple and reproducible techniques used to determine RV function is the tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE).
This is easy to do at the bedside using transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). After obtaining an apical four chamber view, motion-mode (“M-mode“) is shot through the lateral tricuspid valve annulus. During systole, this segment moves inward, so M-mode is able to measure its longitudinal displacement. More movement indicates better RV systolic function.
Because this movement of the tricuspid annulus is relative to the echo transducer, the overall measurement is influenced by the transducer angle. And as with all RV systolic function parameters, the left ventricular function can have a significant influence on measurements.