Pulmonary hypertension in patients with hematological disorders following splenectomy

Indian J Hematol Blood Transfus. 2010 Mar;26(1):2-5. doi: 10.1007/s12288-010-0002-x. Epub 2010 Aug 4.


Prevalence of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) was studied by Echocardiography and Doppler in 43 splenectomised patients with various disorders 1-20 years after splenectomy. PAH was detected only in thalassemia major, intermedia, hereditary sphereocytosis and myelofibrosis groups comprising a total of 21 patients. Six patients out of 21 was found to have PAH with mean pulmonary arterial pressure of 46.28 ± 28.17 mmHg. Twenty one controls having similar duration and type of disease also were assessed for PAH in this case control study 3/21 had PAH in this control group. The difference in number of patients showing pulmonary hypertension between case and control was not statistically significant (chi-square test p = 0.29-though the difference in pulmonary arterial pressure between case and control were significantly different (t-test p<0.0029) with control group showing a mean pulmonary arterial pressure of 25 ± 19 mmHg.Platelet count in the splenectomised group was significantly higher (p = 0.0029) than the controls. Pulmonary thromboembolism was equally high in the PAH patients with and without splenectomy. Patients undergoing splenectomy due to trauma, immune thrombocytopenia, sideroblastic anemia, extra hepatic portal hypertension, autoimmune hemolytic anemia did not show PAH after splenectomy even years after the procedure PAH following splenectomy is common after certain disorders and control patients with these diseases have tendency to develop PAH even without splenectomy. Pulmonary thromboembolism may be an important pathophysiological mechanism leading to this condition. Patients having hemolytic anemia and myelofibrosis should have regular evaluation of pulmonary arterial pressure whether he/she has been splenectomised or not. This is particularly important as availability of phosphodiesterase inhibitors like sildenafil allows one to manage these cases.

Keywords: Myelofibrosis; PAH; Pulmonary thromboembolism; Splenectomy; Thalassemia intermedia; Thalassemia major.