Exercise pathophysiology in patients with primary pulmonary hypertension

X G Sun, J E Hansen, R J Oudiz, K Wasserman
Circulation 2001 July 24, 104 (4): 429-35

BACKGROUND: Patients with primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) have a pulmonary vasculopathy that leads to exercise intolerance due to dyspnea and fatigue. To better understand the basis of the exercise limitation in patients with PPH, cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) with gas exchange measurements, New York Heart Association (NYHA) symptom class, and resting pulmonary hemodynamics were studied.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We retrospectively evaluated 53 PPH patients who had right heart catheterization and cycle ergometer CPET studies to maximum tolerance as part of their clinical workups. No adverse events occurred during CPET. Reductions in peak O(2) uptake (VO(2)), anaerobic threshold, peak O(2) pulse, rate of increase in VO(2), and ventilatory efficiency were consistently found. NYHA class correlated well with the above parameters of aerobic function and ventilatory efficiency but less well with resting pulmonary hemodynamics.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with PPH can safely undergo noninvasive cycle ergometer CPET to their maximal tolerance. The CPET abnormalities were consistent and characteristic and correlated well with NYHA class.

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