Age-related differences in hemodynamics and functional status in pulmonary arterial hypertension: Baseline results from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association Registry

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2020 Sep;39(9):945-953. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2020.05.005. Epub 2020 May 16.


Background: The age of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) has increased, with registries now reporting mean ages of 50 to 65 years old. Limited data exist on age-related differences in hemodynamic and functional assessments in PAH.

Methods: Adults with PAH in the Pulmonary Hypertension Association Registry were divided into 3 groups (18-50, 51-65, and >65 years old). Analysis of variance and chi-square testing were used to assess for baseline differences. Linear regression was used to examine the association of age with continuous hemodynamic and functional variables.

Results: A total of 769 patients with mean age of 56 ± 16 years were included. Older patients had more connective tissue disease-associated PAH and less drug-associated PAH. In linear regression models, each year of increased age was associated with shorter 6-minute walk distance (-3.37 meters; 95% CI, -3.97 to -2.76), lower mean pulmonary arterial pressure (-0.21 mm Hg; 95% CI, -0.27 to -0.15), and lower pulmonary vascular resistance (-0.06 Wood units; 95% CI, -0.09 to -0.04). Pulmonary arterial compliance, cardiac index, right ventricular stroke work index, and percent predicted 6-minute walk distance were unrelated to age; resistance-compliance time was negatively related to age (-3 milliseconds per year; 95% CI, -4 to -2).

Conclusions: Relative to their pulmonary vascular resistance, older patients have lower pulmonary artery compliance and worse right ventricular performance. Based on these findings, we suspect that age influences right ventricular loading conditions and the response of the right ventricle to increased afterload.

Keywords: functional assessments; hemodynamics; pulmonary arterial hypertension; pulmonary artery compliance; pulmonary vascular resistance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension / mortality
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Artery / physiopathology*
  • Registries*
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult