The potential of biomarkers in pulmonary arterial hypertension

Am J Cardiol. 2012 Sep 15;110(6 Suppl):32S-38S. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.06.014.


Effective management of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) requires comprehensive prognostic evaluation in order to determine optimal management strategies. Although a number of clinical and hemodynamic parameters linked to PAH prognosis have been identified, some are associated with significant limitations (eg, invasive techniques, subjective measures). There is a need for noninvasive and objective measures to be established that function as biomarkers for the diagnosis and assessment of disease prognosis, and that determine response to therapy in patients with PAH. Reflecting the highly complex etiology of the disease, a large number of potential biomarkers have been, and continue to be, investigated in PAH, including those reflecting right heart function, endothelial dysfunction, and markers of inflammation and second organ failure. However, it has become clear that scientifically interesting biomarkers may not necessarily be clinically useful. Of the range of biomarkers investigated in PAH to date, only brain natriuretic peptide and its N-terminal cleavage product have been included as prognostic parameters in treatment guidelines. It is unlikely that any single biomarker will provide all the relevant information required for an individual patient, and the potential for combining markers is currently of considerable interest. Future studies are required to determine the optimal combination of existing and emerging biomarkers in the clinical setting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Creatinine / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Heart Failure / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Prognosis
  • Sodium / blood
  • Troponin T / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Troponin T
  • pro-brain natriuretic peptide (1-76)
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain
  • Sodium
  • Creatinine