Combined pulmonary endarterectomy and balloon pulmonary angioplasty in patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2016 May;35(5):591-6. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2015.10.030. Epub 2015 Oct 30.


Background: Pulmonary endarterectomy (PEA) is a curative treatment option for more than 60% of patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). For selected inoperable patients, interventional balloon pulmonary angioplasty (BPA) has recently been established in addition to medical treatment. This approach disrupts scar tissue occluding the pulmonary arteries, leading to an improvement in parenchymal perfusion. CTEPH is occasionally heterogeneous, with operable disease on one side but peripheral, inoperable changes on the contralateral side. Performing unilateral PEA (on the operable side only) in these patients may lead to a worse hemodynamic outcome and increased mortality compared with patients who that can be surgically corrected bilaterally. We sought to determine the feasibility, safety, and benefits of BPA applied to the contralateral lung in several patients with predominantly unilateral disease that was amenable to treatment by PEA.

Methods: Standard unilateral PEA in deep hypothermic circulatory arrest was performed in 3 CTEPH patients with poor pulmonary hemodynamics, and inoperability of the contralateral pulmonary artery obstructions was confirmed. The inoperable side was treated by BPA. The intervention was performed during the rewarming phase of cardiopulmonary bypass.

Results: A dramatic improvement in pulmonary hemodynamics, with a mean reduction in pulmonary vascular resistance of 842 dyne · sec/cm(5), was achieved in all patients. World Health Organization Functional Class was also significantly improved at the midterm follow-up.

Conclusions: The combination of surgical PEA and interventional BPA is a new treatment option for highly selected high-risk CTEPH patients. A multidisciplinary CTEPH expert team is a basic pre-requisite for this complex concept.

Keywords: balloon pulmonary angioplasty; pulmonary endarterectomy; pulmonary hypertension; thromboembolic; unilateral disease.

MeSH terms

  • Angioplasty, Balloon
  • Chronic Disease
  • Endarterectomy
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary*
  • Pulmonary Artery
  • Pulmonary Embolism