Use of Balloon Atrial Septostomy in Patients With Advanced Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Chest. 2019 Jul;156(1):53-63. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2019.03.003. Epub 2019 Mar 23.


Background: Despite the use and purported benefits of balloon atrial septostomy (BAS), its safety, efficacy, and therapeutic role in the setting of advanced pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) are not well defined.

Objective: The goal of this study was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to better determine the evidence supporting the use of BAS in PAH.

Methods: MEDLINE, Scopus, Cochrane Library, and were searched from inception through May 2018 for original studies reporting outcomes with PAH prior to and following BAS. Studies comparing BAS vs other septostomy procedures were excluded. Weighted mean differences and 95% CIs were pooled by using a random effects model.

Results: Sixteen studies comprising 204 patients (mean age, 35.8 years; 73.1% women) were included. Meta-analysis revealed significant reductions in right atrial pressure (-2.77 mm Hg [95% CI, -3.50, -2.04]; P < .001) and increases in cardiac index (0.62 L/min/m2 [95% CI, 0.48, 0.75]; P < .001) and left atrial pressure (1.86 mm Hg [95% CI, 1.24, 2.49]; P < .001) following BAS, along with a significant reduction in arterial oxygen saturation (-8.45% [95% CI, -9.93, -6.97]; P < .001). The pooled incidence of procedure-related (48 h), short-term (≤ 30 day), and long-term (> 30 days up to a mean follow-up of 46.5 months) mortality was 4.8% (95% CI, 1.7%, 9.0%), 14.6% (95% CI, 8.6%, 21.5%), and 37.7% (95% CI, 27.9%, 47.9%), respectively.

Conclusions: The present analysis suggests that BAS is relatively safe in advanced PAH, with beneficial hemodynamic effects. The relatively high postprocedural and short-term survival with less impressive long-term survival suggest a bridging role for BAS; its contribution to this change needs to be verified by using a comparator group.

Keywords: balloon atrial septostomy; efficacy; meta-analysis; pulmonary arterial hypertension; safety.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Catheterization / methods*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Heart Septum / surgery*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension / surgery*