Objective: To assess short-term and long-term responses to treatment with pulmonary vasodilators in patients with sarcoidosis-related pulmonary hypertension.
Methods: A prospective, observational study was performed on eight patients with moderate-to-severe sarcoidosis-related pulmonary hypertension. Patients underwent a short-term vasodilator trial, using inhaled nitric oxide (iNO), IV epoprostenol, and/or oral calcium-channel blockers. A favorable short-term response was considered a > or = 20% decrease in pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR). Five patients received long-term treatment with iNO (with one patient receiving epoprostenol in addition) and underwent follow-up hemodynamic and/or 6-min walk testing. Two patients received long-term treatment with calcium-channel blockers.
Results: Baseline (+/- SE) mean pulmonary artery pressure (mPAP) was 55 +/- 4 mm Hg and PVR was 896 +/- 200 dyne.s.cm(-5). A favorable short-term response was seen in seven of eight patients receiving iNO, four of six patients receiving epoprostenol, and two of five patients receiving calcium-channel blockers. With iNO, PVR decreased 31 +/- 5% (p = 0.006) and mPAP decreased 18 +/- 4% (p = 0.003); with epoprostenol, PVR decreased 25 +/- 6% (p = 0.016) and mPAP decreased 6 +/- 2% (p = not significant). Decreased systemic vascular resistance was the only significant response to treatment with calcium-channel blockers. Follow-up 6-min walk test results improved in all five patients receiving long-term treatment with iNO. Follow-up hemodynamic responses in three patients showed preserved vasoresponsiveness. These three patients subsequently died, as did the two patients receiving calcium-channel blockers. The two remaining patients continue to receive iNO.
Conclusion: In the short term, pulmonary hypertension in patients with sarcoidosis is responsive to treatment with pulmonary vasodilators; these patients may benefit from long-term iNO therapy.