Aim: Sleep-disturbed breathing (SDB) is common in pre-capillary pulmonary hypertension (PH) and impairs daytime performance. In lack of proven effective treatments, we tested whether nocturnal oxygen therapy (NOT) or acetazolamide improve exercise performance and quality of life in patients with pre-capillary PH and SDB.
Methods: This was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, three period cross-over trial. Participants received NOT (3 L/min), acetazolamide tablets (2 × 250 mg), and sham-NOT/placebo tablets each during 1 week with 1-week washout between treatment periods. Twenty-three patients, 16 with pulmonary arterial PH, 7 with chronic thromboembolic PH, and with SDB defined as mean nocturnal oxygen saturation <90% or oxygen saturation dips >10 h(-1) with daytime PaO2 ≥7.3 kPa participated. Assessments at the end of the treatment periods included a 6 min walk distance (MWD), SF-36 quality of life, polysomnography, and echocardiography.
Results: Medians (quartiles) of the 6 MWD after NOT, acetazolamide, and placebo were 480 m (390;528), 440 m (368;468), and 454 m (367;510), respectively, mean differences: NOT vs. placebo +25 m (95% CI 3-46, P= 0.027), acetazolamide vs. placebo -9 m (-34-17, P = 0.223), and NOT vs. acetazolamide +33 (12-45, P < 0.001). SF-36 quality of life was similar with all treatments. Nocturnal oxygen saturation significantly improved with both NOT and acetazolamide. Right ventricular fractional area change was greater on NOT compared with placebo (P = 0.042) and acetazolamide (P = 0.027).
Conclusions: In patients with pre-capillary PH and SDB on optimized pharmacological therapy, NOT improved the 6 MWD compared with placebo already after 1 week along with improvements in SDB and haemodynamics.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01427192.
Keywords: Hypertension; Hypoxia; Pulmonary; Pulmonary heart disease; Sleep.
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