The past decade has realized remarkable advances in the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a progressive and potentially fatal disease. A small proportion of patients will have a dramatic hemodynamic response to acute vasodilator testing performed at the time of right heart catheterization and may be candidates for calcium channel blocker therapy. The vast majority of patients with PAH will not benefit from calcium channel blockers and should be treated with one of the three US Food and Drug Administration-approved therapies for PAH; bosentan, treprostinil, or epoprostenol. Because of the ease of administration relative to other therapies, the majority of patients with functional class III symptoms should be treated with the oral nonselective endothelin antagonist bosentan. Randomized controlled trials with treprostinil have demonstrated improvements in exercise endurance and hemodynamics. Patients who are critically ill, with functional class IV symptoms, should be started on epoprostenol because it is the most rapidly effective therapy. Intravenous epoprostenol improves exercise endurance, quality of life, hemodynamics, and survival in PAH. Investigational therapies on the horizon include phosphodiesterase inhibitors, prostacyclin analogues with alternative delivery routes (eg, inhaled, oral), and selective endothelin A receptor antagonists. The future of PAH therapy will likely include combinations of these therapies based on the multiple mechanisms of action.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine|
|State||Published - Dec 2004|