Background: It is commonly reported a limitation of therapeutic strategy in Eisenmenger syndrome (ES) historically. This qualitative systematic review is conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of pulmonary arterial hypertension-specific drug therapy (PAH-SDT) for ES patients for a clinical therapeutic strategy based on evidence.
Methods: PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library databases have been systematically reviewed up to January 2019. Two reviewers independently conducted a literature search, quality evaluation, and data extraction. The occurrence of death, deterioration, and adverse events (AEs) has respectively been described as a count or percentage. Meta-analysis was conducted by Stata 15.1, and weighted mean differences (WMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were recorded for continuous data. Randomized-effect model or fixed-effect model was applied according to the heterogeneity test.
Results: Fifteen citations recruiting 456 patients associated with ES were eventually pooled, which involved 4 RCTs, 6 prospective studies, and 5 retrospective studies. Within the first year, it indicated PAH-SDT significantly ameliorated exercise capacity in 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) (I = 60.5%; WMD: 53.86 m, 95% CI [36.59, 71.13], P < .001), functional class (FC) (WMD = -0.71, 95% CI [-0.98, -0.44], P < .001) and Borg dyspnea index (WMD = -1.28, 95% CI [-1.86, -0.70], P < .001), in addition to hemodynamics, especially mean pulmonary arterial pressure by 5.70 mmHg (WMD = -5.70 mmHg, 95% CI [-8.19, -3.22], P < .001) and pulmonary vascular resistance by 4.20 wood U (WMD: -4.20, 95% CI [-7.32, -1.09], P = .008), but unsatisfactory effects in oxygen saturation at exercise (P = .747). In a prolonged medication, bosentan, a dual ERA, has been proved acting an important role in improving exercise tolerance of patients with ES (6MWD: I = 47.5%; WMD: 88.68 m, 95% CI [54.05, 123.3], P < .001; FC: I = 0.0%; WMD = -0.65, 95% CI [-1.10, -0.19], P = .006). While a nonsignificant change of 6MWD was noted in a long-term therapy of ambrisentan (P = .385). There existed rare evidence about the efficacy and safety of macitentan, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE5i), and prostanoids in a prolonged medication. Most AEs were recorded as mild to moderate with PAH-SDT, but about 4.3% individuals treated with endothelin receptor antagonists (ERAs) suffered from serious ones, and 3.9% suffered from death.
Conclusions: This systematic review and meta-analysis proved PAH-SDT as a safe and effective role in ES in an early stage. However, in a long-term treatment, bosentan has been supported for a lasting effect on exercise tolerance. A further multicenter research with a large sample about pharmacotherapy of ES is necessary.