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Clinical correlates of a non-plexiform vasculopathy in patients diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Chest 2024 March 2
BACKGROUND: The clinical phenotype of idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) patients has changed. . Whether or not subgroups of IPAH patients have different vascular phenotypes is a subject of debate.

RESEARCH QUESTION: What are the histological patterns and their clinical correlates in patients diagnosed with IPAH or hereditary PAH?

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: In this this cross-sectional registry study lung histology of 50 IPAH patients was qualitatively assessed by two experienced pathologists. In addition, quantitative analysis by means of histopathological morphometry using immunohistochemistry was performed. Histopathological characteristics were correlated with clinical and hemodynamic parameters.

RESULTS: In this cohort of 50 IPAH patients, a plexiform vasculopathy was observed in 26/50 (52%) of patients, while 24/50 (48%) patients had a non-plexiform vasculopathy. The non-plexiform vasculopathy was characterized by prominent pulmonary microvascular (arterioles and venules) remodeling and vascular rarefaction. While hemodynamic parameters were comparable in plexiform versus non-plexiform vasculopathy, patients with non-plexiform vasculopathy were older, more often male, had a stronger history of cigarette smoking and lower diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) at diagnosis No mutations in established PAH genes were found in the non-plexiform group.

INTERPRETATION: This study reveals different vascular phenotypes within the current spectrum of patients diagnosed with IPAH, separated by clinical characteristics (age, sex, , history of cigarette smoking, and DLCO at diagnosis). Potential differences in underlying pathobiological mechanisms between patients with plexiform and non-plexiform / microvascular disease should be taken into account in future research strategies unravelling the pathophysiology of pulmonary hypertension and developing biology-targeted treatment approaches.

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