Heart, Lung and Circulation
Original Article| Volume 32, ISSUE 2, P156-165, February 2023

Acute Vasoreactivity Testing and Outcomes in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: A Call for Increased Testing

Published:December 08, 2022DOI:


      Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) has a progressive, unremitting clinical course. Vasoreactivity testing (VdT) during right heart catheterisation (RHC) identifies a subgroup with excellent long-term response to calcium channel blockade (CCB). Reporting on these patients is limited. Established in 2011, the Pulmonary Hypertension Society of Australia and New Zealand (PHSANZ) registry offers the opportunity to assess the frequency of VdT during RHC, treatment and follow up of PAH patients.


      Registry data from 3,972 PAH patients with index RHC revealed 1,194 VdT appropriate patients. Data was analysed in three groups: 1) VdT+CCB+: VdT positive, CCB treated; 2) VdT+CCB-: VdT positive, no CCB prescribed, 3) VdT-/noVdT: VdT negative, or VdT not tested. Data was reviewed for adherence to guidelines, clinical response (World Health Organization functional class [WHO FC], 6-minute-walk-distance [6MWD], RHC), and outcomes (survival or lung transplantation).


      Patients included had idiopathic (IPAH=1,087), heritable (HPAH=67) and drug or toxin-induced PAH (DPAH=40). A VdT was performed in 22% (268/1,194), with incomplete data in 26% (70/268); 28% (55/198) were VdT+. Analysis group allocation was: VdT+CCB+ (33/55), VdT+CCB- (22/55), VdT- (143)/noVdT (996). From patients with 1-year data VdT+CCB+ and VdT-/noVdT patients improved WHO FC, 6MWD and cardiac index (CI); VdT+CCB- data remained similar. Within the VdT+CCB+ group, 30% (10/33) were long-term CCB responders with a 100% 5-year survival; non-responders had a 61% survival at 5.4 years. Long-term responders were younger at diagnosis (40 yrs vs 54 yrs).


      Use of VdT testing and documentation is poor in this contemporary patient cohort. Nonetheless, survival in VdT+CCB+ patients from the PHSANZ registry is excellent, supporting guidelines promoting VdT testing. Strategies to promote the use of VdT are warranted.


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