Objectives: We sought to examine the relationship between measures of ILD severity and PH in patients with SSc.
Methods: We identified 55 subjects from 12 PHAROS sites with RHC-proven PH and HRCT evidence of ILD. Subjects with PH due to left heart disease were excluded. Baseline HRCT scans were scored by a standardised system that graded severity of ILD. Summary statistics were generated for baseline characteristics. Spearman correlation and linear regression were used to examine relationships between ILD and PH severity variables.
Results: The majority of subjects were white women; nearly half had limited cutaneous SSc. Most subjects were New York Heart Association functional class II or III. Pulmonary function testing revealed moderate restriction (mean FVC 64.3 ± 17.2% predicted) with severe reduction in diffusing capacity (mean DLco 34.2 ± 13.3% predicted). RHC demonstrated mild to moderate PH (mean PAP 35 ± 9 mmHg, mean PVR 5.1 ± 3.7 WU). There was no correlation between severity of ILD (by either HRCT or PFT) and cardiac haemodynamic parameters of PH.
Conclusions: No association between severity of ILD and cardiac haemodynamic profiles were identified in this cohort. We believe this underscores the complex nature of PH and ILD in individuals with SSc. We do suspect that some individuals with SSc-ILD will also have concomitant pulmonary vascular disease but simple assessments to grade severity of ILD - by PFT or HRCT estimates of ILD extent - are likely not enough to reliably distinguish between PAH versus PH-ILD. Further research into how to distinguish and manage these subsets is warranted.