Rationale: Activin A receptor type II-like kinase-1 (ACVRL1, also known as ALK1) mutation is a cause of hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) and/or heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).
Objectives: To describe the characteristics of patients with PAH carrying an ACVRL1 mutation.
Methods: We reviewed clinical, functional, and hemodynamic characteristics of 32 patients with PAH carrying an ACVRL1 mutation, corresponding to 9 patients from the French PAH Network and 23 from literature analysis. These cases were compared with 370 patients from the French PAH Network (93 with a bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 [BMPR2] mutation and 277 considered as idiopathic cases without identified mutation). Distribution of mutations in the ACVRL1 gene in patients with PAH was compared with the HHT Mutation Database.
Measurements and main results: At diagnosis, ACVRL1 mutation carriers were significantly younger (21.8 +/- 16.7 yr) than BMPR2 mutation carriers and noncarriers (35.7 +/- 14.9 and 47.6 +/- 16.3 yr, respectively; P < 0.0001). In seven of the nine patients from the French PAH Network, PAH diagnosis preceded manifestations of HHT. ACVRL1 mutation carriers had better hemodynamic status at diagnosis, but none responded to acute vasodilator challenge and they had shorter survival when compared with other patients with PAH despite similar use of specific therapies. ACVRL1 mutations in exon 10 were more frequently observed in patients with PAH, as compared with what was observed in the HHT Mutation Database (33.3 vs. 5%; P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: ACVRL1 mutation carriers were characterized by a younger age at PAH diagnosis. Despite less severe initial hemodynamics and similar management, these patients had worse prognosis compared with other patients with PAH, suggesting more rapid disease progression.