Background: Improved outcomes with expanding treatment options for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension present the opportunity to consider additional end-points in approaching therapy, including factors that influence health-related quality of life. However, comparatively little is known about health-related quality of life and its determinants in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Methods: Health-related quality of life was evaluated in a cross sectional study of 155 outpatients with pulmonary arterial hypertension using generic and respiratory-disease specific measurement tools. Most patients had either World Health Organization functional Class II or III symptoms. Demographic, hemodynamic and treatment variables were assessed for association with health-related quality of life scores.
Results: Patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension suffered severe impairments in both physical and emotional domains of health-related quality of life. Patients with idiopathic ("primary") pulmonary arterial hypertension had the best, and those with systemic sclerosis the worst health-related quality of life. Greater six-minute walk distance correlated with better health-related quality of life scores, as did functional Class II versus Class III symptoms. Hemodynamic measurements, however, did not correlate with health-related quality of life scores. No differences in health-related quality of life were found between patients who were being treated with calcium channel antagonists, bosentan or continuously infused epoprostenol at the time of quality of life assessment.
Conclusion: Health-related quality of life is severely impaired in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension and is associated with measures of functional status. Specific associations with impaired health-related quality of life suggest potential areas for targeted intervention.