Exercise physiological responses to drug treatments in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2016 Sep 1;121(3):623-8. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00087.2016. Epub 2016 Jul 14.


We tested the hypothesis that patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) that was deemed to be inoperable were more likely to respond to drugs for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) by using cardiopulmonary exercise (CPX) testing than those with CTEPH that was deemed to be operable. We analyzed CPX testing data of all patients with CTEPH who were treated with PAH drugs and had undergone CPX testing before and after treatment at a single pulmonary hypertension center between February 2009 and March 2013. Suitability for pulmonary endarterectomy (PEA) was decided by experts in PEA who were associated with a treatment center. The group with inoperable CTEPH included 16 patients, the operable group included 26 patients. There were no differences in demographics and baseline hemodynamic data between the groups. Unlike patients in the operable group, after drug treatment patients with inoperable CTEPH had a significantly higher peak V̇o2 (P < 0.001), work load (P = 0.002), and oxygen pulse (P < 0.001). In terms of gas exchange, there was an overall net trend toward improved V̇e/V̇co2 in the group with inoperable CTEPH, with an increased PaCO2 (P = 0.01), suggesting reduced hyperventilation. No changes were observed in patients with operable CTEPH. In conclusion, treatment with PAH drug therapy reveals important pathophysiological differences between inoperable and operable CTEPH, with significant pulmonary vascular and cardiac responses in inoperable disease. Drug effects on exercise function observed in inoperable CTEPH cannot be translated to all forms of CTEPH.

Keywords: cardiopulmonary exercise testing; chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension; pulmonary arterial hypertension drug therapy.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Test / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Embolism / complications
  • Pulmonary Embolism / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / drug effects*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antihypertensive Agents