Pulmonary hypertension diagnosed by right heart catheterisation in sickle cell disease

Eur Respir J. 2012 Jan;39(1):112-8. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00134410. Epub 2011 Jul 20.


Recent studies have recognised the importance of pulmonary hypertension (PH) in sickle cell disease (SCD). The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and prognostic impact of PH and its features in patients with SCD. 80 patients with SCD underwent baseline clinical evaluation, laboratory testing, 6-min walk tests (6MWTs) and echocardiography. Patients with a peak tricuspid regurgitant jet velocity (TRV) of ≥ 2.5 m·s(-1) were further evaluated through right heart catheterisation (RHC) to assure the diagnosis of PH. Our study evidenced a 40% prevalence of patients with elevated TRV at echocardiography. RHC (performed in 25 out of 32 patients) confirmed PH in 10% (95% CI 3.4-16.5%) of all patients, with a prevalence of post-capillary PH of 6.25% (95% CI 0.95-11.55%) and pre-capillary PH of 3.75% (95% CI -0.4-7.9%). Patients with PH were older, had worse performance in 6MWTs, and more pronounced anaemia, haemolysis and renal dysfunction. Survival was shorter in patients with PH. Our study reinforced the use of echocardiography as a screening tool for PH in SCD and the mandatory role of RHC for proper diagnosis. Our findings confirmed the prognostic significance of PH in SCD as its association to pronounced haemolytic profile.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / complications*
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / diagnosis*
  • Cardiac Catheterization / methods*
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / complications*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tricuspid Valve / physiopathology