Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension: A Review of the Multifaceted Pathobiology

Biomedicines. 2023 Dec 24;12(1):46. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines12010046.


Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary disease results from the incomplete resolution of thrombi, leading to fibrotic obstructions. These vascular obstructions and additional microvasculopathy may lead to chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) with increased pulmonary arterial pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance, which, if left untreated, can lead to right heart failure and death. The pathobiology of CTEPH has been challenging to unravel due to its rarity, possible interference of results with anticoagulation, difficulty in selecting the most relevant study time point in relation to presentation with acute pulmonary embolism (PE), and lack of animal models. In this article, we review the most relevant multifaceted cross-talking pathogenic mechanisms and advances in understanding the pathobiology in CTEPH, as well as its challenges and future direction. There appears to be a genetic background affecting the relevant pathological pathways. This includes genetic associations with dysfibrinogenemia resulting in fibrinolysis resistance, defective angiogenesis affecting thrombus resolution, and inflammatory mediators driving chronic inflammation in CTEPH. However, these are not necessarily specific to CTEPH and some of the pathways are also described in acute PE or deep vein thrombosis. In addition, there is a complex interplay between angiogenic and inflammatory mediators driving thrombus non-resolution, endothelial dysfunction, and vascular remodeling. Furthermore, there are data to suggest that infection, the microbiome, circulating microparticles, and the plasma metabolome are contributing to the pathobiology of CTEPH.

Keywords: chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension; defective angiogenesis; genetics; inflammation; pathobiology.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.