Background: In a previous study of Chinese patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) in the nontargeted therapy era (defined as the time before 2006 when new pulmonary arterial hypertension-specific drugs were not available in China), we reported 1- and 3-year survival estimates of only 68% and 39%, respectively. However, it is not yet known whether the survival of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension is improved in the modern treatment era (defined in China as after 2006).
Methods: A retrospective cohort study was undertaken in 276 consecutive patients with newly diagnosed incident IPAH and connective tissue disease-related pulmonary arterial hypertension (CTDPAH) who were referred between 2007 and 2009. Baseline characteristics and survival rates in the two groups were compared.
Results: The 1- and 3-year survival estimates were 92.1% and 75.1%, respectively, in patients with IPAH, and 85.4% and 53.6%, respectively, in patients with CTDPAH. Patients with CTDPAH had a significantly lower mean pulmonary artery pressure, more pericardial effusion, and more severe impairment of the diffusion capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide than patients with IPAH. A diagnosis of CTDPAH, World Health Organization functional class III or IV, single-breath diffusion capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide < 80% predicted, and the presence of pericardial effusion were independent predictors of mortality. The 1- and 3-year survival rates of male patients were 93.5% and 77.5%, respectively, in those with IPAH, and 71.1% and 47.4%, respectively, in those with CTDPAH.
Conclusions: The survival rates of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension have improved in China in the modern treatment era, despite the high costs of treatment and financial constraints. However, the survival rates of patients with CTDPAH are inferior to those of patients with IPAH. Our study also indicates poorer survival rates in male patients with CTDPAH.