Objective: Pulmonary hypertension eventually leads to severe distortion of the cardiac geometry with consequent impact on cardiac function. The purpose of this study was to prove reverse cardiac remodelling after isolated bilateral lung transplantation (LuTX) in patients with advanced primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) and severe alterations of cardiac morphology and function.
Methods: In the period of 2000-2002 17 (10 female, seven male) patients with advanced PPH underwent isolated bilateral LuTX. Median age was 30 years (range 16-53). All patients were in NYHA III or IV, most of them with intractable ascites, established renal impairment, malnutrition and immobility, continuously deteriorating despite various forms of pharmacological treatment including i.v. and inhalative prostacyclin, diuretics, Ca-antagonists, bosentan and catecholamines. Echocardiography and Doppler echocardiography measurements were performed before and 3 months after transplantation. Left and right ventricular diameters and function were assessed and tricuspid valve regurgitation was determined.
Results: Mortality after 3 months was 17.5% (cerebral bleeding, multi-organ failure and diffuse myocardial infarction in one patient each). Three months after LuTX the 14 surviving patients were in NYHA I or II. Echocardiography showed normal left ventricular function and markedly improved right ventricular function with normal size of the RV. The leftward shifted flattened interventricular septum had returned in its physiological position and the high-grade tricuspid insufficiency had disappeared in all patients.
Conclusions: Advanced alterations of cardiac morphology and function normalize completely and pre-existing tricuspid insufficiency disappears in PPH patients after isolated bilateral LuTX. Quality of life is excellent. Therefore, LuTX is preferred and safe in patients with advanced PPH even with severe cardiac dysfunction.