Risk Factor Profiles Achieved with Medical Therapy in Prevalent Patients with Pulmonary Arterial and Distal Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension

Philipp Bartenstein, Stéphanie Saxer, Paula Appenzeller, Mona Lichtblau, Esther I Schwarz, Silvia Ulrich
Respiration; International Review of Thoracic Diseases 2018, 96 (2): 127-137

BACKGROUND: The latest pulmonary hypertension (PH) guidelines define therapeutic goals in terms of symptoms, exercise capacity, and haemodynamics for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and recommend advanced combined medical therapy. For inoperable or post-surgical residual distal chronic thromboembolic PH (CTEPH) medical treatment is similarly advised.

OBJECTIVES: We analysed whether risk factor goals are achieved and combination therapy is used in prevalent patients with PAH or distal CTEPH.

METHODS: PAH or distal CTEPH patients who were seen at the University Hospital Zurich during the last year were analysed in terms of demography, clinical data, medication, and therapeutic goals. Achievement of therapeutic goals was defined as New York Heart Association (NYHA) class ≤II, N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NTpro-BNP) < 300 ng/L, and 6-min walking distance (6MWD) > 440 m.

RESULTS: A total of 108 PAH patients (age 59 ± 18 years, 62% female, 64% idiopathic, 36% associated) and 38 distal CTEPH patients (age 69 ± 14 years, 55% female) were included. They had been diagnosed on average 66 ± 48 months (±SD) previously. The percentage of PAH/CTEPH patients with NYHA ≤II was 52/53, respectfully, the percentage of those with NTproBNP < 300 ng/L was 61/52, and with 6MWD > 440 m 63/50. Overall, 33/31% fulfilled 3 and 29/35% fulfilled 2 of these goals. Regarding therapy, 43% of PAH patients were on double and 10% on triple combination therapy, whereas 16% of distal CTEPH patients were on double and 3% on triple combination therapy.

CONCLUSIONS: In this real-life cohort of prevalent patients with PAH or distal CTEPH, targeted drug therapy resulted in an achievement of ≥2/3 predefined therapeutic goals in 2/3 of patients. Patients with PAH were more likely to receive combination therapy compared to CTEPH patients.


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