Objective: Pulmonary endarterectomy is the treatment of choice for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. In many patients hemodynamics are normalized early after surgical intervention. However, the effect of residual pulmonary hypertension on postoperative clinical status and survival is unknown.
Methods: Data were collected prospectively on all patients who underwent pulmonary endarterectomy in a continuous national series between 1997 and December 2007. Postoperatively, patients underwent scheduled reinvestigation, including functional testing and right heart catheterization, at 3 months after the operation. They were divided into 2 groups based on mean pulmonary artery pressure: group 1, less than 30 mm Hg; group 2, 30 mm Hg or greater.
Results: Three hundred fourteen patients underwent pulmonary endarterectomy, survived to hospital discharge, and completed the 3-month follow-up period. At 3 months after pulmonary endarterectomy, there was a significant reduction in mean pulmonary artery pressure for the whole cohort (48±12 to 26±10 mm Hg, P<.001). However, 31% of the patients had residual pulmonary hypertension. Group 1 patients enjoyed significantly better exercise capacity and improved symptoms compared with group 2 patients. In addition, there were significantly fewer patients receiving targeted medical therapy in group 1 versus group 2 (0% vs 25%, P<.001). Conditional survival after discharge from the hospital for the whole cohort was 90.0% at 5 years and was not different between groups (90.3% for group 1 vs 89.9% for group 2, P=.36).
Conclusions: For patients undergoing pulmonary endarterectomy, survival after hospital discharge is excellent. Residual pulmonary hypertension significantly compromised symptom status and functional capacity but did not appear to adversely affect medium-term survival. The effect of targeted medical therapy in patients with residual pulmonary hypertension after pulmonary endarterectomy needs to be evaluated further.
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