Exercise intolerance in pulmonary hypertension: mechanism, evaluation and clinical implications

Expert Rev Respir Med. 2016 Sep;10(9):979-90. doi: 10.1080/17476348.2016.1191353. Epub 2016 Jun 10.


Introduction: Exercise intolerance in pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a major factor affecting activities of daily living and quality of life. Evaluation strategies (i.e., non-invasive and invasive tests) are integral to providing a comprehensive assessment of clinical and functional status. Despite a growing body of literature on the clinical consequences of PH, there are limited studies discussing the contribution of various physiological systems to exercise intolerance in this patient population.

Areas covered: This review, through a search of various databases, describes the physiological basis for exercise intolerance across the various PH etiologies, highlights the various exercise evaluation methods and discusses the rationale for exercise training amongst those diagnosed with PH. Expert commentary: With the growing importance of evaluating exercise capacity in PH (class 1, Level C recommendation), understanding why exercise performance is altered in PH is crucial. Thus, the further study is required for better quality evidence in this area.

Keywords: Exercise; cardiopulmonary exercise testing; exercise capacity; pulmonary hypertension.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / complications*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology*
  • Quality of Life