Publications by authors named "Anco Boonstra"

64 Publications

Deterioration of pulmonary function: An early complication in Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva.

Bone Rep 2021 Jun 25;14:100758. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Internal Medicine section Endocrinology, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Amsterdam Bone Centre, de Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) is a genetic disease characterized by the formation of heterotopic ossification (HO) in connective tissues. HO first develops in the thoracic region, before more peripheral sites are affected. Due to HO along the thoracic cage, its movements are restricted and pulmonary function deteriorates. Because development of HO is progressive, it is likely that pulmonary function deteriorates over time, but longitudinal data on pulmonary function in FOP are missing. Longitudinal pulmonary function tests (PFTs) from seven FOP patients were evaluated retrospectively to assess whether there were changes in pulmonary function during aging. Forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), total lung capacity (TLC), residual volume (RV) and diffusing lung capacity for carbon dioxide divided by alveolar volume (DLCO/VA) were included. In addition, HO volume along the thorax together with its progression as identified by whole body low dose CT scans were correlated to PFT data. Per patient, aged 7-57 years at the time of the first PFT, three to nine PFTs were available over a period of 6-18 years. Restrictive pulmonary function, identified by TLC or suspected by FVC, was found in all, but one, patients. In three patients, TLC, FVC or both decreased further during the follow-up period. All, but one, patients had an increased RV. The DLCO/VA ratio was normal in all FOP patients. Interestingly, FEV1 increased after a surgical intervention to unlock the jaw. In four out of five patients total HO volume in the thoracic region progressed beyond early adulthood, but no further decline in FVC was observed. In conclusion, restrictive pulmonary function was found in the majority of patients already at an early age. Our data suggest that the deterioration in pulmonary function is age dependent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bonr.2021.100758DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7972965PMC
June 2021

Riociguat treatment in patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension: Final safety data from the EXPERT registry.

Respir Med 2021 03 12;178:106220. Epub 2020 Nov 12.

Bayer AG, Global Development, Global Medical Affairs, Berlin, Germany.

Objective: The soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator riociguat is approved for the treatment of adult patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and inoperable or persistent/recurrent chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) following Phase 3 randomized trials. The EXPosurE Registry RiociguaT in patients with pulmonary hypertension (EXPERT) study was designed to monitor the long-term safety of riociguat in clinical practice.

Methods: EXPERT was an international, multicenter, prospective, uncontrolled, non-interventional cohort study of patients treated with riociguat. Patients were followed for at least 1 year and up to 4 years from enrollment or until 30 days after stopping riociguat treatment. Primary safety outcomes were adverse events (AEs) and serious adverse events (SAEs) coded using Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities preferred terms and System Organ Classes version 21.0, collected during routine clinic visits and collated via case report forms.

Results: In total, 956 patients with CTEPH were included in the analysis. The most common AEs in these patients were peripheral edema/edema (11.7%), dizziness (7.5%), right ventricular (RV)/cardiac failure (7.7%), and pneumonia (5.0%). The most common SAEs were RV/cardiac failure (7.4%), pneumonia (4.1%), dyspnea (3.6%), and syncope (2.5%). Exposure-adjusted rates of hemoptysis/pulmonary hemorrhage and hypotension were low and comparable to those in the long-term extension study of riociguat (Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension Soluble Guanylate Cyclase-Stimulator Trial [CHEST-2]).

Conclusion: Data from EXPERT show that in patients with CTEPH, the safety of riociguat in routine practice was consistent with the known safety profile of the drug, and no new safety concerns were identified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rmed.2020.106220DOI Listing
March 2021

Riociguat treatment in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension: Final safety data from the EXPERT registry.

Respir Med 2020 Dec 3;177:106241. Epub 2020 Dec 3.

Bayer AG, Global Development, Global Medical Affairs, Berlin, Germany.

Objective: The soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator riociguat is approved for the treatment of adult patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and inoperable or persistent/recurrent chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension following Phase 3 randomized trials. The EXPosurE Registry RiociguaT in patients with pulmonary hypertension (EXPERT) study was designed to monitor the long-term safety of riociguat in clinical practice.

Methods: EXPERT was an international, multicenter, prospective, uncontrolled, non-interventional cohort study of patients treated with riociguat. Patients were followed for at least 1 year and up to 4 years from enrollment or until 30 days after stopping riociguat treatment. Primary safety outcomes were adverse events (AEs) and serious adverse events (SAEs) coded using Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities preferred terms and System Organ Classes version 21.0, collected during routine clinic visits (usually every 3-6 months) and collated via case report forms.

Results: In total, 326 patients with PAH were included in the analysis. The most common AEs in these patients were dizziness (11.7%), right ventricular (RV)/cardiac failure (10.7%), edema/peripheral edema (10.7%), diarrhea (8.6%), dyspnea (8.0%), and cough (7.7%). The most common SAEs were RV/cardiac failure (10.1%), pneumonia (6.1%), dyspnea (4.0%), and syncope (3.4%). The exposure-adjusted rate of hemoptysis/pulmonary hemorrhage was 2.5 events per 100 patient-years.

Conclusion: Final data from EXPERT show that in patients with PAH, the safety of riociguat in clinical practice was consistent with clinical trials, with no new safety concerns identified and a lower exposure-adjusted rate of hemoptysis/pulmonary hemorrhage than in the long-term extension of the Phase 3 trial in PAH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rmed.2020.106241DOI Listing
December 2020

Dynamic vascular changes in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension after pulmonary endarterectomy.

Pulm Circ 2020 Oct-Dec;10(4):2045894020907883. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Residual pulmonary hypertension is an important sequela after pulmonary endarterectomy for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. Recurrent thrombosis or embolism could be a contributor to this residual pulmonary hypertension but the potential extent of its role is unknown in part because data on incidence are lacking. We aimed to analyze the incidence of new intravascular abnormalities after pulmonary endarterectomy and determine hemodynamic and functional implications. A total of 33 chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension patients underwent routine CT pulmonary angiography before and six months after pulmonary endarterectomy, together with right heart catheterization and exercise testing. New vascular lesions were defined as (1) a normal pulmonary artery before pulmonary endarterectomy and containing a thrombus, web, or early tapering six months after pulmonary endarterectomy or (2) a pulmonary artery already containing thrombus, web, or early tapering at baseline, but increasing six months after pulmonary endarterectomy. Nine of 33 (27%) chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension patients showed new vascular lesions on CT pulmonary angiography six months after pulmonary endarterectomy. In a subgroup of patients undergoing CT pulmonary angiography 18 months after pulmonary endarterectomy, no further changes in lesions were noted. Hemodynamic and functional outcomes were not different between patients with and without new vascular lesions. New vascular lesions are common after pulmonary endarterectomy for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension; currently their origin, dynamics, and long-term consequences remain unknown.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2045894020907883DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7645796PMC
November 2020

Collaboration Around Rare Bone Diseases Leads to the Unique Organizational Incentive of the Amsterdam Bone Center.

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 2020 11;11:481. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

Amsterdam UMC, Department of Oral and MaxilloFacial Surgery/Oral Pathology, Amsterdam Bone Center, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

In the field of rare bone diseases in particular, a broad care team of specialists embedded in multidisciplinary clinical and research environment is essential to generate new therapeutic solutions and approaches to care. Collaboration among clinical and research departments within a University Medical Center is often difficult to establish, and may be hindered by competition and non-equivalent cooperation inherent in a hierarchical structure. Here we describe the "collaborative organizational model" of the Amsterdam Bone Center (ABC), which emerged from and benefited the rare bone disease team. This team is often confronted with pathologically complex and under-investigated diseases. We describe the benefits of this model that still guarantees the autonomy of each team member, but combines and focuses our collective expertise on a clear shared goal, enabling us to capture synergistic and innovative opportunities for the patient, while avoiding self-interest and possible harmful competition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2020.00481DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7431598PMC
August 2020

Persistent exercise intolerance after pulmonary endarterectomy for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension.

Eur Respir J 2020 06 18;55(6). Epub 2020 Jun 18.

Dept of Pulmonary Medicine, Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Aim: Haemodynamic normalisation is the ultimate goal of pulmonary endarterectomy (PEA) for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). However, whether normalisation of haemodynamics translates into normalisation of exercise capacity is unknown. The incidence, determinants and clinical implications of exercise intolerance after PEA are unknown. We performed a prospective analysis to determine the incidence of exercise intolerance after PEA, assess the relationship between exercise capacity and (resting) haemodynamics and search for preoperative predictors of exercise intolerance after PEA.

Methods: According to clinical protocol all patients underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET), right heart catheterisation and cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging before and 6 months after PEA. Exercise intolerance was defined as a peak oxygen consumption (' ) <80% predicted. CPET parameters were judged to determine the cause of exercise limitation. Relationships were analysed between exercise intolerance and resting haemodynamics and CMR-derived right ventricular function. Potential preoperative predictors of exercise intolerance were analysed using logistic regression analysis.

Results: 68 patients were included in the final analysis. 45 (66%) patients had exercise intolerance 6 months after PEA; in 20 patients this was primarily caused by a cardiovascular limitation. The incidence of residual pulmonary hypertension was significantly higher in patients with persistent exercise intolerance (p=0.001). However, 27 out of 45 patients with persistent exercise intolerance had no residual pulmonary hypertension. In the multivariate analysis, preoperative transfer factor of the lung for carbon monoxide () was the only predictor of exercise intolerance after PEA.

Conclusions: The majority of CTEPH patients have exercise intolerance after PEA, often despite normalisation of resting haemodynamics. Not all exercise intolerance after PEA is explained by the presence of residual pulmonary hypertension, and lower preoperative was a strong predictor of exercise intolerance 6 months after PEA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1183/13993003.00109-2020DOI Listing
June 2020

Hemodynamic Effects of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension-Specific Therapy in Patients With Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction and With Combined Post- and Precapillay Pulmonary Hypertension.

J Card Fail 2020 Jan 5;26(1):26-34. Epub 2019 Aug 5.

Department of Cardiology, Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Drugs approved for pulmonary arterial hypertension have been considered for patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and combined post- and precapillary pulmonary hypertension (Cpc-PH). We aimed to study changes in cardiac volumes, cardiac load and left ventricular (LV) filling pressures in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and Cpc-PH in response to pulmonary arterial hypertension-specific treatment.

Methods And Results: In this prospective study, 23 patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and Cpc-PH underwent right-heart catheterization, including acute provocation testing (fluid loading and inhaled nitric oxide) and cardiac MRI at baseline. Right-heart catheterization and cardiac MRI were repeated after 4 months of treatment. At baseline, acutely increasing preload by fluid loading resulted in a significant increase in pulmonary arterial wedge pressure (PAWP), whereas reducing right ventricular (RV) afterload and increasing LV distensability by acute administration of inhaled nitric oxide had no effect on PAWP. After 4 months of treatment, we observed a significant reduction in RV and LV afterload and increased RV and LV stroke volume, but PAWP significantly increased.

Conclusions: In patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and Cpc-PH, 4 months of pulmonary arterial hypertension-specific treatment increased RV and LV stroke volume at the expense of increased PAWP. This increase in PAWP was similarly observed acutely after fluid loading.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cardfail.2019.07.547DOI Listing
January 2020

Clinical relevance of right ventricular diastolic stiffness in pulmonary hypertension.

Eur Respir J 2015 Jun 16;45(6):1603-12. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

Dept of Pulmonary Medicine, Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Dept of Physiology, Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Right ventricular (RV) diastolic stiffness is increased in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) patients. We investigated whether RV diastolic stiffness is associated with clinical progression and assessed the contribution of RV wall thickness to RV systolic and diastolic stiffness. Using single-beat pressure-volume analyses, we determined RV end-systolic elastance (Ees), arterial elastance (Ea), RV--arterial coupling (Ees/Ea), and RV end-diastolic elastance (stiffness, Eed) in controls (n=15), baseline PAH patients (n=63) and treated PAH patients (survival >5 years n=22 and survival <5 years n=23). We observed an association between Eed and clinical progression, with baseline Eed >0.53 mmHg·mL(-1) associated with worse prognosis (age-corrected hazard ratio 0.27, p=0.02). In treated patients, Eed was higher in patients with survival <5 years than in patients with survival >5 years (0.91±0.50 versus 0.53±0.33 mmHg·mL(-1), p<0.01). Wall-thickness-corrected Eed values in PAH patients with survival >5 years were not different from control values (0.76±0.47 versus 0.60±0.41 mmHg·mL(-1), respectively, not significant), whereas in patients with survival <5 years, values were significantly higher (1.52±0.91 mmHg·mL(-1), p<0.05 versus controls). RV diastolic stiffness is related to clinical progression in both baseline and treated PAH patients. RV diastolic stiffness is explained by the increased wall thickness in patients with >5 years survival, but not in those surviving <5 years. This suggests that intrinsic myocardial changes play a distinctive role in explaining RV diastolic stiffness at different stages of PAH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1183/09031936.00156714DOI Listing
June 2015

Noninvasive identification of left-sided heart failure in a population suspected of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Eur Respir J 2015 Aug 2;46(2):422-30. Epub 2015 Apr 2.

Dept of Pulmonology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Exclusion of pulmonary hypertension secondary to left-sided heart disease (left heart failure (LHF)) is pivotal in the diagnosis of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). In case of doubt, invasive measurements are recommended. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether it is possible to diagnose LHF using noninvasive parameters in a population suspected of PAH.300 PAH and 80 LHF patients attended our pulmonary hypertension clinic before August 2010, and were used to build the predictive model. 79 PAH and 55 LHF patients attended our clinic from August 2010, and were used for prospective validation.A medical history of left heart disease, S deflection in V1 plus R deflection in V6 in millimetres on ECG, and left atrial dilation or left valvular heart disease that is worse than mild on echocardiography were independent predictors of LHF. The derived risk score system showed good predictive characteristics: R(2)=0.66 and area under the curve 0.93. In patients with a risk score ≥72, there is 100% certainty that the cause of pulmonary hypertension is LHF. Using this risk score system, the number of right heart catheterisations in LHF may be reduced by 20%.In a population referred under suspicion of PAH, a predictive model incorporating medical history, ECG and echocardiography data can diagnose LHF noninvasively in a substantial percentage of cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1183/09031936.00202814DOI Listing
August 2015

Signs of right ventricular deterioration in clinically stable patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Chest 2015 Apr;147(4):1063-1071

Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Even after years of stable response to therapy, patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) may show an unexpected clinical deterioration due to progressive right ventricular (RV) failure. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess in 5-year clinically stable patients with IPAH whether initial differences or subsequent changes in RV volumes precede late clinical progression.

Methods: Included were 22 clinically stable patients with IPAH as reflected by stable or improving New York Heart Association functional class II-III and exercise capacity during 5 years of follow-up. Twelve patients subsequently remained stable during a total follow-up of 10 years, whereas 10 other patients showed late progression leading to death or lung transplantation after a follow-up of 8 years. All patients underwent right-sided heart catheterization and cardiac MRI at baseline and at 1½, 3½, 6½, and, if still alive, 10 years follow-up.

Results: Baseline hemodynamics were comparable in both groups and remained unchanged during the entire follow-up period. Baseline RV end-systolic volume (RVESV) was higher and RV ejection fraction (RVEF) was lower in late-progressive patients. Late-progressive patients demonstrated a gradually increased RV end-diastolic volume and RVESV and a decline in RVEF, whereas long-term stable patients did not show any RV changes.

Conclusions: In patients with stable IPAH for 5 years, subsequent late disease progression is preceded by changes in RV volumes. The results indicate that monitoring RV volumes anticipates clinical worsening, even at a time of apparent clinical stability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1378/chest.14-0701DOI Listing
April 2015

[Diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary hypertension].

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 2014 ;158:A7315

Vrije Universiteit Medisch Centrum, Amsterdam.

Pulmonary hypertension is defined as a mean pulmonary artery pressure of more than 25 mmHg. There are many possible causes of pulmonary hypertension; pulmonary hypertension has a poor prognosis, irrespective of the underlying cause. The most frequent causes of pulmonary hypertension are left heart failure and lung disease. The diagnostic work up of pulmonary hypertension starts with investigations into left heart failure and lung disease. If these reveal no cause, ventilation perfusion scintigraphy should be carried out so that chronic thrombo-embolic pulmonary hypertension can be demonstrated or excluded. In most cases, chronic thrombo-embolic pulmonary hypertension can be treated curatively by means of pulmonary endarterectomy. If chronic thrombo-embolic pulmonary hypertension is also ruled out, then we speak of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Prostacyclins, endothelin receptor antagonists, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, and soluble guanylyl cyclase stimulators have been shown to be effective in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. This condition should be treated at specialist centres.
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March 2015

EPITOME-2: An open-label study assessing the transition to a new formulation of intravenous epoprostenol in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Am Heart J 2014 Feb 3;167(2):210-7. Epub 2013 Oct 3.

Université Paris-Sud, INSERM U999, Centre de Référence de l'Hypertension Pulmonaire Sévère, Service Pneumologie, Hôpital Bicêtre, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, Paris, France.

Background: Continuous infusion of epoprostenol is the treatment of choice in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension in functional classes III to IV. However, this treatment's limitations include instability at room temperature. A new epoprostenol formulation offers improved storage conditions and patient convenience.

Methods: The EPITOME-2 trial was an open-label, prospective, multicenter, single-arm, phase IIIb study. Patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension on long-term, stable epoprostenol therapy were transitioned from epoprostenol with glycine and mannitol excipients (Flolan; GlaxoSmithKline, Durham, NC) to epoprostenol with arginine and sucrose excipients (Veletri; Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Allschwil, Switzerland). Patients were followed up for 3 months, and dose adjustments were recorded. Efficacy measures included the 6-minute walk distance, hemodynamics assessed by right heart catheterization, and New York Heart Association functional class. Safety and tolerability of the transition were also evaluated. Quality of life was assessed using the Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire for Medication.

Results: Forty-two patients enrolled in the study, and 1 patient withdrew consent before treatment; thus, 41 patients received treatment and completed the study. Six patients required dose adjustments. There were no clinically relevant changes from baseline to month 3 in any of the efficacy end points. Adverse events were those previously described with intravenous prostacyclin therapy. Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire for Medication scores showed an improvement from baseline to month 3 in the domain of treatment convenience.

Conclusions: Transition from epoprostenol with glycine and mannitol excipients to epoprostenol with arginine and sucrose excipients did not affect treatment efficacy, raised no new safety or tolerability concerns, and provided patients with an increased sense of treatment convenience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ahj.2013.08.007DOI Listing
February 2014

The right ventricle explains sex differences in survival in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Chest 2014 Jun;145(6):1230-1236

Department of Pulmonology. Electronic address:

Background: Male sex is an independent predictor of worse survival in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). This finding might be explained by more severe pulmonary vascular disease, worse right ventricular (RV) function, or different response to therapy. The aim of this study was to investigate the underlying cause of sex differences in survival in patients treated for PAH.

Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of 101 patients with PAH (82 idiopathic, 15 heritable, four anorexigen associated) who were diagnosed at VU University Medical Centre between February 1999 and January 2011 and underwent right-sided heart catheterization and cardiac MRI to assess RV function. Change in pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) was taken as a measure of treatment response in the pulmonary vasculature, whereas change in RV ejection fraction (RVEF) was used to assess RV response to therapy.

Results: PVR and RVEF were comparable between men and women at baseline; however, male patients had a worse transplant-free survival compared with female patients (P = .002). Although male and female patients showed a similar reduction in PVR after 1 year, RVEF improved in female patients, whereas it deteriorated in male patients. In a mediator analysis, after correcting for confounders, 39.0% of the difference in transplant-free survival between men and women was mediated through changes in RVEF after initiating PAH medical therapies.

Conclusions: This study suggests that differences in RVEF response with initiation of medical therapy in idiopathic PAH explain a significant portion of the worse survival seen in men.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1378/chest.13-1291DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4042511PMC
June 2014

Risk factors for hemoptysis in idiopathic and hereditary pulmonary arterial hypertension.

PLoS One 2013 23;8(10):e78132. Epub 2013 Oct 23.

Pulmonology Department, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Introduction: When hemoptysis complicates pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), it is assumed to result from bronchial artery hypertrophy. In heritable PAH, the most common mutation is in the BMPR2 gene, which regulates growth, differentiation and apoptosis of mesenchymal cells. The aim of this study is to determine the relationship in PAH between the occurrence of hemoptysis, and disease progression, bronchial artery hypertrophy, pulmonary artery dilation and BMPR2 mutations.

Methods: 129 IPAH patients underwent baseline pulmonary imaging (CT angio or MRI) and repeated right-sided heart catheterization. Gene mutations were assessed in a subset of patients.

Results: Hemoptysis was associated with a greater presence of hypertrophic bronchial arteries and more rapid hemodynamic deterioration. The presence of a BMPR2 mutation did not predispose to the development of hemoptysis, but was associated with a greater number of hypertrophic bronchial arteries and a worse baseline hemodynamic profile.

Conclusion: Hemoptysis in PAH is associated with bronchial artery hypertrophy and faster disease progression. Although the presence of a BMPR2 mutation did not correlate with a greater incidence of hemoptysis in our patient cohort, its association with worse hemodynamics and a trend of greater bronchial arterial hypertrophy may increase the risk of hemoptysis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0078132PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3806771PMC
February 2015

Prognostic relevance of changes in exercise test variables in pulmonary arterial hypertension.

PLoS One 2013 5;8(9):e72013. Epub 2013 Sep 5.

Department of Pulmonology, Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Introduction: Exercise variables determined in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) at the time of diagnosis, predict survival. It is unknown whether upon treatment, subsequent changes in these exercise variables reflect improvements in survival. The aim of this study was to determine changes in exercise variables in PAH patients and to relate these changes to survival.

Methods: Baseline cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) variables and six-minute-walk-distance (6MWD) were available from 65 idiopathic PAH patients (50 females; mean age 45±2yrs). The same variables were determined after treatment (13months) in a sub group of 43 patients. To estimate the association between changes in exercise variables and changes in cardiac function, right-ventricle ejection fraction (RVEF) was measured by cardiac MRI at baseline and after treatment in 34 patients. Mean follow-up time after the second CPET was 53 (range: 4-111) months. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to relate survival to baseline and treatment-associated changes in exercise variables.

Results: Survivors showed a significantly greater change in maximal oxygen uptake than non-survivors and this change in aerobic capacity was significantly related to changes in RVEF. From baseline until the end of the study period, two patients underwent a lung transplantation and 19 patients died. Survival analysis showed that baseline 6MWD (p<0.0001), maximal heart rate (p<0.0001) and the slope relating ventilation with carbon dioxide production (p≤0.05) were significant predictors of survival, whereas baseline oxygen uptake and oxygen pulse held no predictive value. Treatment associated changes in 6MWD (p<0.01), maximal heart rate (p<0.05), oxygen uptake (p<0.001) and oxygen pulse predicted survival (p<0.05), whereas changes in the slope relating ventilation with carbon dioxide production did not.

Conclusion: Exercise variables with prognostic significance when determined at baseline, retain their prognostic relevance after treatment. However, when changes in exercise variables upon treatment are considered, a different set of variables provides prognostic information.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0072013PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3764059PMC
June 2014

Diffusion capacity and BMPR2 mutations in pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Eur Respir J 2014 Apr 13;43(4):1195-8. Epub 2013 Sep 13.

Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1183/09031936.00136413DOI Listing
April 2014

Severely reduced diffusion capacity in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension: patient characteristics and treatment responses.

Eur Respir J 2013 Dec 15;42(6):1575-85. Epub 2013 Aug 15.

Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam.

A subgroup of patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) has severely reduced diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO) and poor prognosis. Their characteristics are currently unknown. The aim of this study is to contrast clinical characteristics and treatment responses of IPAH-patients with a severely reduced and more preserved DLCO. Retrospectively, 166 IPAH patients were included and grouped based on a DLCO cut-off value of 45% pred (IPAH(<45%) and IPAH(≥45%)). Clinical characteristics, treatment responses and survival were compared. IPAH(<45%) were older, more often male, had a more frequent history of coronary disease and a higher tobacco exposure. Forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), FEV1/forced vital capacity, total lung capacity and alveolar volume values were slightly lower and computed tomography scan abnormalities more prevalent in patients with a low DLCO. Age and number of pack years were independently associated with DLCO < 45% pred. IPAH(<45%) showed no different haemodynamic profile, yet worse exercise performance and a worse survival rate, which were both related to age, sex and the presence of coronary disease. To conclude, a severely reduced DLCO in IPAH is associated with advanced age and a greater tobacco exposure. These patients have a worse exercise performance despite a similar hemodynamic profile. We confirm the decreased survival in this patient group and now show that this poor outcome is related to age, sex and the presence of coronary disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1183/09031936.00184412DOI Listing
December 2013

Major bleeding with vitamin K antagonist anticoagulants in pulmonary hypertension.

Eur Respir J 2013 Apr 30;41(4):872-8. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Dept of Cardiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Vitamin K antagonists are advised in pulmonary arterial hypertension patients despite a lack of safety data. We reviewed major bleeding in three classes of pulmonary hypertension patients, all receiving vitamin K antagonists. Bleeding event rates were 5.4 per 100 patient-years for patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, 19 per 100 patient-years for connective tissue disease related pulmonary arterial hypertension patients and 2.4 per 100 patient-years for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension patients. Life tables analysis showed that event-free survival was worse in patients with connective tissue disease related pulmonary hypertension than in patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (Wilcoxon=12.8; p<0.001), and patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (Wilcoxon=23.2; p<0.001). Patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension suffered more events than patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (Wilcoxon=7.2; p<0.01). Major bleeding was independent of age, sex, target international normalised ratio (INR) range, documented INR, vitamin K antagonist type, or right atrial pressure, but was associated with use of prostacyclin analogues. Major bleeding risk during vitamin K antagonist therapy differs among groups of patients with pulmonary hypertension. Further research regarding optimal anticoagulant therapy is needed, as well as risk-benefit analyses for pulmonary hypertension patients with a higher bleeding propensity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1183/09031936.00039212DOI Listing
April 2013

Dysregulated renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system contributes to pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2012 Oct 2;186(8):780-9. Epub 2012 Aug 2.

VU University Medical Center, Department of Pulmonology, De Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Rationale: Patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (iPAH) often have a low cardiac output. To compensate, neurohormonal systems such as the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and the sympathetic nervous system are up-regulated, but this may have long-term negative effects on the progression of iPAH.

Objectives: Assess systemic and pulmonary RAAS activity in patients with iPAH and determine the efficacy of chronic RAAS inhibition in experimental PAH.

Methods: We collected 79 blood samples from 58 patients with iPAH in the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam (between 2004 and 2010) to determine systemic RAAS activity.

Measurements And Main Results: We observed increased levels of renin, angiotensin (Ang)I, and AngII, which were associated with disease progression (P < 0.05) and mortality (P < 0.05). To determine pulmonary RAAS activity, lung specimens were obtained from patients with iPAH (during lung transplantation, n = 13) and control subjects (during lobectomy or pneumonectomy for cancer, n = 14). Local RAAS activity in pulmonary arteries of patients with iPAH was increased, demonstrated by elevated angiotensin-converting enzyme activity in pulmonary endothelial cells and increased AngII type 1 (AT(1)) receptor expression and signaling. In addition, local RAAS up-regulation was associated with increased pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell proliferation via enhanced AT(1) receptor signaling in patients with iPAH compared with control subjects. Finally, to determine the therapeutic potential of RAAS activity, we assessed the chronic effects of an AT(1) receptor antagonist (losartan) in the monocrotaline PAH rat model (60 mg/kg). Losartan delayed disease progression, decreased right ventricular afterload and pulmonary vascular remodeling, and restored right ventricular-arterial coupling in rats with PAH.

Conclusions: Systemic and pulmonary RAAS activities are increased in patients with iPAH and are associated with increased pulmonary vascular remodeling. Chronic inhibition of RAAS by losartan is beneficial in experimental PAH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1164/rccm.201203-0411OCDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5104838PMC
October 2012

Ventilatory and cardiocirculatory exercise profiles in COPD: the role of pulmonary hypertension.

Chest 2012 Nov;142(5):1166-1174

Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a well-recognized complication of COPD. The impact of PH on exercise tolerance is largely unknown. We evaluated and compared the circulatory and ventilatory profiles during exercise in patients with COPD without PH, with moderate PH, and with severe PH.

Methods: Forty-seven patients, GOLD (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease)stages II to IV, underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing and right-sided heart catheterization at rest and during exercise. Patients were divided into three groups based on mean pulmonary artery pressure (mPAP) at rest: no PH (mPAP, < 25 mm Hg), moderate PH (mPAP, 25-39 mm Hg),and severe PH (mPAP, ≥ 40 mm Hg). Mixed venous oxygen saturation (S VO 2 ) was used for evaluating the circulatory reserve. Pa CO 2 and the calculated breathing reserve were used for evaluation of the ventilatory reserve.

Results: Patients without PH (n = 24) had an end-exercise S VO 2 of 48%± 9%, an increasing Pa CO 2 with exercise, and a breathing reserve of 22% ± 20%. Patients with moderate PH (n = 14) had an exercise S VO 2 of 40% ± 8%, an increasing Pa CO 2 , and a breathing reserve of 26% ± 15%. Patients with severe PH (n =9) had a significantly lower end-exercise S VO 2 (30% ± 6%), a breathing reserve of 37% ± 11%, and an absence of Pa CO 2 accumulation.

Conclusion: Patients with severe PH showed an exhausted circulatory reserve at the end of exercise.A profile of circulatory reserve in combination with ventilatory impairments was found inpatients with COPD and moderate or no PH. The results suggest that pulmonary vasodilation might only improve exercise tolerance in patients with COPD and severe PH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1378/chest.11-2798DOI Listing
November 2012

Progressive right ventricular dysfunction in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension responding to therapy.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2011 Dec;58(24):2511-9

Department of Pulmonary Diseases, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between changes in pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) and right ventricular ejection fraction (RVEF) and survival in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) under PAH-targeted therapies.

Background: Despite the fact that medical therapies reduce PVR, the prognosis of patients with PAH is still poor. The primary cause of death is right ventricular (RV) failure. One possible explanation for this apparent paradox is the fact that a reduction in PVR is not automatically followed by an improvement in RV function.

Methods: A cohort of 110 patients with incident PAH underwent baseline right heart catheterization, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, and 6-min walk testing. These measurements were repeated in 76 patients after 12 months of therapy.

Results: Two patients underwent lung transplantation, 13 patients died during the first year, and 17 patients died in the subsequent follow-up of 47 months. Baseline RVEF (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.938; p = 0.001) and PVR (HR: 1.001; p = 0.031) were predictors of mortality. During the first 12 months, changes in PVR were moderately correlated with changes in RVEF (R = 0.330; p = 0.005). Changes in RVEF (HR: 0.929; p = 0.014) were associated with survival, but changes in PVR (HR: 1.000; p = 0.820) were not. In 68% of patients, PVR decreased after medical therapy. Twenty-five percent of those patients with decreased PVR showed a deterioration of RV function and had a poor prognosis.

Conclusions: After PAH-targeted therapy, RV function can deteriorate despite a reduction in PVR. Loss of RV function is associated with a poor outcome, irrespective of any changes in PVR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2011.06.068DOI Listing
December 2011

Systolic pulmonary artery pressure and heart rate are main determinants of oxygen consumption in the right ventricular myocardium of patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Eur J Heart Fail 2011 Dec 20;13(12):1290-5. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

Department of Pulmonology, VU University Medical Center, De Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Aims: Increased afterload in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) causes right ventricular (RV) hypertrophy and failure. Since RV remodelling occurs with alterations in RV oxygen metabolism, increasing our understanding in the factors determining RV O(2) consumption in IPAH is necessary. In the left ventricle, it is known that heart rate and systolic blood pressure are the main determinants of myocardial O(2) consumption (MVO(2)). However, the normal right heart has lower oxygen extraction and perfusion than the left myocardium, and RV energy metabolism is changed in hypertrophy. Therefore, it is not obvious that the relationsships of pressure and heart rate to MVO(2) hold for the overloaded human right heart. We hypothesize that systolic pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) and heart rate (HR) are the major determinants of RV MVO(2) in IPAH.

Methods And Results: In 18 IPAH patients (New York Heart Association class II and III), RV MVO(2) was determined using positron emission tomography and (15)O tracers. PAP and HR were measured during right heart catheterization. RV MVO(2) was found to be related to systolic PAP (R(2) = 0.54, P < 0.001), and inversely to stroke volume (R(2) = 0.32, P = 0.015) and HR (R(2) = 0.32, P = 0.014). Relationships of MVO(2) to the rate pressure product (RPP), i.e. systolic pressure × HR, and wall stress were R(2) = 0.55, P < 0.001, and R(2) = 0.30, P = 0.020, respectively. Multiple regression of MVO(2) on HR and systolic PAP gave R(2) = 0.59, P = 0.001.

Conclusion: Systolic PAP and HR are the major determinants of RV MVO(2) in IPAH. A further increase of HR and PAP with IPAH progression suggests a compromised RV myocardial oxygen availability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurjhf/hfr140DOI Listing
December 2011

Progressive changes in right ventricular geometric shortening and long-term survival in pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Chest 2012 Apr 29;141(4):935-943. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Until now, many investigators have focused on describing right ventricular (RV) dysfunction in groups of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), but very few have addressed the deterioration of RV function over time. The aim of this study was to investigate time courses of RV geometric changes during the progression of RV failure.

Methods: Forty-two patients with PAH were selected who underwent right-sided heart catheterization and cardiac MRI at baseline and after 1-year follow-up. Based on the survival after this 1-year run-in period, patients were classified into two groups: survivors (26 patients; subsequent survival of > 4 years) and nonsurvivors (16 patients; subsequent survival of < 4 years). Four-chamber cine imaging was used to quantify RV longitudinal shortening (apex-base distance change), RV transverse shortening (septum-free wall distance change), and RV fractional area change (RVFAC) between end diastole and end systole.

Results: Longitudinal shortening, transverse shortening, and RVFAC measured at the beginning of the run-in period and 1 year later were significantly higher in subsequent survivors than in nonsurvivors (P < .05). Longitudinal shortening did not change during the run-in period in either patient group. Transverse shortening and RVFAC did not change during the run-in period in subsequent survivors but did decrease in subsequent nonsurvivors (P < .05). This decrease was caused by increased leftward septal bowing.

Conclusions: Progressive RV failure in PAH is associated with a parallel decline in longitudinal and transverse shortening until a floor effect is reached for longitudinal shortening. A further reduction of RV function is due to progressive leftward septal displacement. Because transverse shortening incorporates both free wall and septum movements, this parameter can be used to monitor the decline in RV function in end-stage PAH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1378/chest.10-3277DOI Listing
April 2012

Right ventricular failure in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension is associated with inefficient myocardial oxygen utilization.

Circ Heart Fail 2011 Nov 7;4(6):700-6. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

Department of Pulmonology, Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: In idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH), increased right ventricular (RV) power is required to maintain cardiac output. For this, RV O2 consumption (MVO2) must increase by augmentation of O2 supply and/or improvement of mechanical efficiency-ratio of power output to MVO2. In IPAH with overt RV failure, however, there is evidence that O2 supply (perfusion) reserve is reduced, leaving only increase in either O2 extraction or mechanical efficiency as compensatory mechanisms. We related RV mechanical efficiency to clinical and hemodynamic parameters of RV function in patients with IPAH and associated it with glucose metabolism.

Methods And Results: The patients included were in New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II (n=8) and class III (n=8). They underwent right heart catheterization, MRI, and H2(15)O-, (15)O2-, C(15)O-, and 18FDG-PET. RV power and O2 supply were similar in both groups (NYHA class II versus class III: 0.54±0.14 versus 0.47±0.12 J/s and 0.109±0.022 versus 0.128±0.026 mL O2/min per gram, respectively). RV O2 extraction was near-significantly lower in NYHA class II compared with NYHA class III (63±17% versus 75±16%, respectively, P=0.10). As a result, MVO2 was significantly lower (0.066±0.012 versus 0.092±0.010 mL O2/min per gram, respectively, P=0.006). RV efficiency was reduced in NYHA class III (13.9±3.8%) compared with NYHA class II (27.8±7.6%, P=0.001). Septal bowing, measured by MRI, correlated with RV efficiency (r = -0.59, P=0.020). No relation was found between RV efficiency and glucose uptake rate. RV mechanical efficiency and ejection fraction were closely related (r=0.81, P<0.001).

Conclusions: RV failure in IPAH was associated with reduced mechanical efficiency that was partially explained by RV mechanical dysfunction but not by a metabolic shift.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.111.962381DOI Listing
November 2011

Supine-exercise-induced oxygen supply to the right myocardium is attenuated in patients with severe idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Heart 2011 Dec 31;97(24):2069-74. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

Department of Pulmonology, Institute of Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Impaired right ventricular (RV) myocardial blood flow (MBF) has been associated with RV dysfunction and fatal RV failure in idiopathic pulmonary hypertension during stress. MBF and O(2) extraction from myocardial capillaries (O(2) extraction fraction (OEF)) influence myocardial O(2) supply.

Objective: To determine how the baseline RV OEF affects the amount of MBF increase induced by supine exercise, the authors hypothesise that higher baseline OEF (H-OEF) results in limited O(2) extraction during exercise and that MBF must therefore be increased to obtain sufficient O(2).

Methods: In 18 patients with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, baseline OEF, resting MBF and exercise-induced MBF at 40% of maximal cardiopulmonary exercise testing load were measured using positron emission tomography and [(15)O]O(2), [(15)O]H(2)O and [(15)O]CO.

Results: For the whole population, exercise increased RV MBF from 0.68±0.16 to 1.13 ± 0.38 ml/min/g (p < 0.0001). The MBF exercise-to-rest ratio (reserve) was 1.7 ± 0.7. The median baseline OEF was 0.73 at which the patient population was split into H-OEF and lower baseline OEF (L-OEF). Baseline MBF values (0.61 ± 0.11 and 0.74 ± 0.17 ml/min/g, respectively) were similar, and exercise induced a significant MBF increase in both groups (p = 0.0001). However, exercise-induced increase in MBF was significantly less in the H-OEF group than in the L-OEF group (0.97 ± 0.30 and 1.30 ± 0.39 ml/min/g, respectively, p < 0.05). Moreover, H-OEF patients had lower baseline stroke volume and cardiac output than the L-OEF group (52 ± 19 ml and 4.0 ± 1.1 l/min vs 78 ± 18 ml and 5.5 ± 0.9 l/min, respectively, both p < 0.05).

Conclusions: H-OEF patients were hemodynamically poorer and showed a lower exercise-induced MBF increase compared to L-OEF patients, suggesting exercise-induced O(2) supply limitation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/heartjnl-2011-300237DOI Listing
December 2011

Platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β and epidermal growth factor receptor in pulmonary vasculature of systemic sclerosis-associated pulmonary arterial hypertension versus idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension and pulmonary veno-occlusive disease: a case-control study.

Arthritis Res Ther 2011 Apr 14;13(2):R61. Epub 2011 Apr 14.

Department of Pulmonary Diseases, VU University Medical Center, De Boelelaan 1117, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Introduction: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) complicated by pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) carries a poor prognosis, despite pulmonary vascular dilating therapy. Platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β (PDGFR-β) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are potential therapeutic targets for PAH because of their proliferative effects on vessel remodelling. To explore their role in SScPAH, we compared PDGFR- and EGFR-mmunoreactivity in lung tissue specimens from SScPAH. We compared staining patterns with idiopathic PAH (IPAH) and pulmonary veno-occlusive disease (PVOD), as SScPAH vasculopathy differs from IPAH and sometimes displays features of PVOD. Immunoreactivity patterns of phosphorylated PDGFR-β (pPDGFR-β) and the ligand PDGF-B were evaluated to provide more insight into the patterns of PDGFR-b activation.

Methods: Lung tissue specimens from five SScPAH, nine IPAH, six PVOD patients and five controls were examined. Immunoreactivity was scored for presence, distribution and intensity.

Results: All SScPAH and three of nine IPAH cases (P = 0.03) showed PDGFR-β-immunoreactivity in small vessels (arterioles/venules); of five SScPAH vs. two of nine IPAH cases (P = 0.02) showed venous immunoreactivity. In small vessels, intensity was stronger in SScPAH vs. IPAH. No differences were found between SScPAH and PVOD. One of five normal controls demonstrated focally mild immunoreactivity. There were no differences in PDGF-ligand and pPDGFR-b-immunoreactivity between patient groups; however, pPDGFR-b-immunoreactivity tended to be more prevalent in SScPAH small vasculature compared to IPAH. Vascular EGFR-immunoreactivity was limited to arterial and arteriolar walls, without differences between groups. No immunoreactivity was observed in vasculature of normals.

Conclusions: PDGFR-β-immunoreactivity in SScPAH is more common and intense in small- and post-capillary vessels than in IPAH and does not differ from PVOD, fitting in with histomorphological distribution of vasculopathy. PDGFR-β immunoreactivity pattern is not paralleled by pPDGFR-β or PDGF-B patterns. PDGFR-β- and EGFR-immunoreactivity of pulmonary vessels distinguishes PAH patients from controls.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/ar3315DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3132056PMC
April 2011

Characteristics of interstitial fibrosis and inflammatory cell infiltration in right ventricles of systemic sclerosis-associated pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Int J Rheumatol 2010 30;2010. Epub 2010 Sep 30.

Department of Pulmonary Diseases, VU University Medical Center, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1117, NL 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Objective. Systemic sclerosis-associated pulmonary arterial hypertension (SScPAH) has a disturbed function of the right ventricle (RV) when compared to idiopathic PAH (IPAH). Systemic sclerosis may also affect the heart. We hypothesize that RV differences may occur at the level of interstitial inflammation and-fibrosis and compared inflammatory cell infiltrate and fibrosis between the RV of SScPAH, IPAH, and healthy controls. Methods. Paraffin-embedded tissue samples of RV and left ventricle (LV) from SScPAH (n = 5) and IPAH (n = 9) patients and controls (n = 4) were picrosirius red stained for detection of interstitial fibrosis, which was quantified semiautomatically. Neutrophilic granulocytes (MPO), macrophages (CD68), and lymphocytes (CD45) were immunohistochemically stained and only interstitial leukocytes were counted. Presence of epi- or endocardial inflammation, and of perivascular or intimal fibrosis of coronary arteries was assessed semiquantitatively (0-3: absent to extensive). Results. RV's of SScPAH showed significantly more inflammatory cells than of IPAH (cells/mm(2), mean ± sd MPO 11 ± 3 versus 6 ± 1; CD68 11 ± 3 versus 6 ± 1; CD45 11 ± 1 versus 5 ± 1 , P < .05) and than of controls. RV interstitial fibrosis was similar in SScPAH and IPAH (4 ± 1 versus 5 ± 1%, P = .9), and did not differ from controls (5 ± 1%, P = .8). In 4 SScPAH and 5 IPAH RV's foci of replacement fibrosis were found. No differences were found on epi- or endocardial inflammation or on perivascular or intimal fibrosis of coronary arteries. Conclusion. SScPAH RVs display denser inflammatory infiltrates than IPAH, while they do not differ with respect to interstitial fibrosis. Whether increased inflammatory status is a contributor to altered RV function in SScPAH warrants further research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/604615DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2949592PMC
July 2011

Clinically significant change in stroke volume in pulmonary hypertension.

Chest 2011 May 23;139(5):1003-1009. Epub 2010 Sep 23.

Department of Pulmonary Disease, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Stroke volume is probably the best hemodynamic parameter because it reflects therapeutic changes and contains prognostic information in pulmonary hypertension (PH). Stroke volume directly reflects right ventricular function in response to its load, without the correction of compensatory increased heart rate as is the case for cardiac output. For this reason, stroke volume, which can be measured noninvasively, is an important hemodynamic parameter to monitor during treatment. However, the extent of change in stroke volume that constitutes a clinically significant change is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the minimal important difference (MID) in stroke volume in PH.

Methods: One hundred eleven patients were evaluated at baseline and after 1 year of follow-up with a 6-min walk test (6MWT) and cardiac MRI. Using the anchor-based method with 6MWT as the anchor, and the distribution-based method, the MID of stroke volume change could be determined.

Results: After 1 year of treatment, there was, on average, a significant increase in stroke volume and 6MWT. The change in stroke volume was related to the change in 6MWT. Using the anchor-based method, an MID of 10 mL in stroke volume was calculated. The distribution-based method resulted in an MID of 8 to 12 mL.

Conclusions: Both methods showed that a 10-mL change in stroke volume during follow-up should be considered as clinically relevant. This value can be used to interpret changes in stroke volume during clinical follow-up in PH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1378/chest.10-1066DOI Listing
May 2011

Right ventricular oscillatory power is a constant fraction of total power irrespective of pulmonary artery pressure.

Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2010 Nov 9;182(10):1315-20. Epub 2010 Jul 9.

Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Rationale: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is characterized by increased arterial load requiring more right ventricular (RV) hydraulic power to sustain adequate forward blood flow. Power can be separated into a mean and oscillatory part. The former is associated with mean and the latter with pulsatile blood flow and pressure. Because mean power provides for net blood flow, the ratio of oscillatory to total power (oscillatory power fraction) preferably should be small. It is unknown whether this is the case in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

Objectives: To derive components of power generated by the right ventricle in PAH.

Measurements And Main Results: Thirty-five patients with idiopathic PAH (IPAH) and 14 subjects without PH were included. The patients were divided in two groups, "moderate" and "high," based on pulmonary artery (PA) pressure. PA pressures were obtained by right heart catheterization and PA flows by magnetic resonance imaging. Total hydraulic power (Power(total)) was calculated as the integral product of pressure and flow. Mean hydraulic power (Power(mean)) was calculated as mean pulmonary artery pressure times mean flow. Their difference is oscillatory power (Power(oscill)). Total hydraulic power in subjects without PH compared with moderate and high IPAH was 0.29 ± 0.10 W (n = 14), 0.52 ± 0.14 W (n = 17), and 0.73 ± 0.24 W (n = 18), respectively. The oscillatory power fraction is approximately 23% and not different between groups.

Conclusions: In this study, oscillatory power fraction is constant at 23% in non-PH and IPAH, implying that a considerable amount of power is not used for forward flow, making the RV less efficient with respect to its arterial load. Our findings emphasize the need to develop new therapy strategies to optimize RV power output in PAH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1164/rccm.200910-1643OCDOI Listing
November 2010