Treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension in connective tissue disease

Ekkehard Grünig
Drugs 2012 May 28, 72 (8): 1039-56
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a group of distinct disorders that includes idiopathic PAH (IPAH), familial PAH and PAH associated with other conditions (APAH) such as connective tissue disease (CTD-APAH) or congenital heart disease. PAH is characterized by increased pulmonary arterial pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance. If left untreated, PAH can lead to right heart failure and premature death. CTD-APAH represents an important clinical subgroup of APAH that has a higher risk of death than IPAH. The European treatment guidelines advocate the use of PAH-targeted therapies including bosentan, ambrisentan, sildenafil, inhaled iloprost, intravenous epoprostenol (I-A recommendations), tadalafil or treprostinil (I-B recommendations) for patients in WHO functional class II-III. Not all randomized clinical studies of the approved PAH-targeted therapies have included patients with CTD-APAH. The purpose of this review is to describe the clinical characteristics of CTD-APAH and discuss the approved pharmacological treatments, with a focus on data specific to this subgroup where possible.


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