High prevalence of occult left heart disease in scleroderma-pulmonary hypertension.

Research paper by Benjamin D BD Fox, Avi A Shimony, David D Langleben, Andrew A Hirsch, Lawrence L Rudski, Robert R Schlesinger, Mark J MJ Eisenberg, Dominique D Joyal, Marie M Hudson, Kim K Boutet, Alexandrina A Serban, Ariel A Masetto, Murray M Baron

Indexed on: 22 Dec '12Published on: 22 Dec '12Published in: European Respiratory Journal


Our study aimed to determine the prevalence of occult left-heart disease in patients with scleroderma and pulmonary hypertension. In patients with pulmonary hypertension (mean pulmonary artery pressure (mean PAP)≥25 mmHg), differentiation between pre- and post-capillary pulmonary hypertension has been made according to pulmonary artery wedge pressure (PAWP) less than or more than 15 mmHg, respectively. We performed a retrospective chart review of 107 scleroderma patients. All patients with suspected pulmonary hypertension had routine right or left heart catheterisation with left ventricular end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP) measurement pre-/post-fluid challenge. We extracted demographic, haemodynamic and echocardiographic data. Patients were classified into one of four groups: haemodynamically normal (mean PAP<25 mmHg); pulmonary venous hypertension (PVH) (mean PAP≥25 mmHg, PAWP>15 mmHg); occult PVH (mean PAP≥25 mmHg, PAWP≤15 mmHg, LVEDP>15 mmHg before or after fluid challenge); and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) (mean PAP≥25 mmHg, PAWP≤15 mmHg and LVEDP≤15 mmHg before or after fluid challenge). 53 out of 107 patients had pulmonary hypertension. Based on the PAWP-based definition, 29 out of 53 had PAH and 24 out of 53 had PVH. After considering the resting and post-fluid-challenge LVEDP, 11 PAH patients were reclassified as occult PVH. The occult PVH group was haemodynamically, echocardiographically and demographically closer to the PVH group than the PAH group. PVH had high prevalence in our scleroderma-pulmonary hypertension population. Distinguishing PAH from PVH with only PAWP may result in some PVH patients being misclassified as having PAH.