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Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2014 Jan;70(1):13-21. doi: 10.1007/s00228-013-1583-8. Epub 2013 Sep 12.

Prostanoid therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension: a meta-analysis of survival outcomes.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Disease, Fuwai Hospital, National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beilishi Road, Xicheng District, Beijing, 100037, China.



Prostanoids have played an important role in the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). However, whether prostanoid therapy provides a survival advantage is still not clear. The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of prostanoids in PAH, focusing on the improvement in overall survival.


Trials were identified from the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, and PUBMED databases. We calculated risk ratios (RR) for dichotomous data and weighted mean differences with 95 % confidence intervals (CI) for continuous data.


Fourteen trials with a total of 2,244 adult patients (1,189 patients in the prostanoid treatment group and 1,055 patients in the placebo group) were included in the meta-analysis. All-cause mortality rate in the control group was 4.17 %. In a 13.4-week follow-up, prostanoid treatment was associated with a 44 % reduction in mortality (RR 0.56; 95 % CI 0.35-0.88; P = 0.01).Subgroup analysis suggested that only treatment with intravenous prostanoids provided a survival benefit. Compared with placebo, prostanoids significantly reduced clinical worsening (RR 0.60; 95 % CI 0.46-0.80; P = 0.0003), increased the 6-min walk distance by 27.95 m, reduced mean pulmonary arterial pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance, and increased the cardiac index and mixed venous oxygen saturation. However, patients receiving prostanoid treatment showed a much higher incidence (RR 3.25; 95 % CI 2.07-5.10; P<0.00001) of withdrawal due to its adverse effects.


The results of this meta-analysis suggest that treatment with prostanoids improves the survival of patients with PAH.

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