Pulmonary hypertension in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Br J Pharmacol. 2021 Jan;178(1):132-151. doi: 10.1111/bph.14979. Epub 2020 Mar 3.


Even mild pulmonary hypertension (PH) is associated with increased mortality and morbidity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive; therefore, specific and efficient treatment options are not available. Therapeutic approaches tested in the clinical setting, including long-term oxygen administration and systemic vasodilators, gave disappointing results and might be only beneficial for specific subgroups of patients. Preclinical studies identified several therapeutic approaches for the treatment of PH in COPD. Further research should provide deeper insight into the complex pathophysiological mechanisms driving vascular alterations in COPD, especially as such vascular (molecular) alterations have been previously suggested to affect COPD development. This review summarizes the current understanding of the pathophysiology of PH in COPD and gives an overview of the available treatment options and recent advances in preclinical studies. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed issue on Risk factors, comorbidities, and comedications in cardioprotection. To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v178.1/issuetoc.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary* / drug therapy
  • Oxygen
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / complications
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / drug therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Vasodilator Agents / therapeutic use


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Oxygen