Sarcoidosis-associated pulmonary hypertension: outcome with long-term epoprostenol treatment

Chest. 2006 Nov;130(5):1481-8. doi: 10.1378/chest.130.5.1481.


Rationale: Pulmonary hypertension is a known complication of sarcoidosis and is associated with increased mortality. Little is known about the outcome of sarcoidosis-associated pulmonary hypertension, including response to treatment.

Objective: To determine the characteristics and outcome of patients with sarcoidosis-associated pulmonary hypertension treated with IV epoprostenol.

Design: Retrospective chart review of all cases of pulmonary hypertension with a concomitant diagnosis of sarcoidosis evaluated in the Boston University Pulmonary Hypertension Center from 2000 to 2004.

Measurements: Data collected included patient demographics, sarcoidosis stage, pulmonary function, echocardiography results, treatment, baseline and posttreatment hemodynamic measurements, and clinical outcome.

Results: Eight patients were identified; four of the patients had stage IV pulmonary sarcoidosis. Pulmonary function test results were notable for severe diffusion impairment (mean diffusion capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide, 30% of predicted), with only mild-to-moderate restrictive physiology (mean FVC, 59% of predicted). Seventy-five percent of patients required supplemental oxygen at the time of presentation. All patients had moderate or severe pulmonary hypertension and were New York Heart Association (NYHA)/World Health Organization (WHO) class III or IV. A vasodilator trial with epoprostenol was performed in seven of the eight patients; six of the seven patients had a significant hemodynamic response (> 25% reduction in pulmonary vascular resistance). All but one of the responders (five of six patients) continued on therapy. Average clinical improvement was one to two NYHA/WHO classes at a mean follow-up of 29 months (range, 15 to 49 months).

Conclusions: In patients with sarcoidosis-associated pulmonary hypertension, the severity of pulmonary vascular disease occurs out of proportion to lung function abnormalities. The majority of our patients responded to epoprostenol; survival may be improved in this group.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Epoprostenol / adverse effects
  • Epoprostenol / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / complications*
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Resistance / drug effects
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Epoprostenol