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Rev Esp Cardiol. 2003 Mar;56(3):230-5.

[Ten years' experience in continuous intravenous epoprostenol therapy in severe pulmonary arterial hypertension].

[Article in Spanish]

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Unidad de Cardiología. Hospital Costa del Sol. Marbella. Málaga. España.



Primary pulmonary hypertension and its associated forms is a progressive and often fatal disease, the course of which has been favourably modified by prostacyclin therapy in the last decade.


The aim of this study is to analize retrospectively the efficacy of continuous intravenous epoprostenol (synthetic prostacyclin) therapy in pulmonary arterial hypertension, and to compare it with conventional therapy (anticoagulants, digoxin and diuretics).


Between 1990-2000, 31 patients with severe precapillary pulmonary hypertension in functional class III or IV went on continuous intravenous epoprostenol therapy, administered by a portable infusion pump through a Hickman catheter. We compared their survival with a group of 16 patients treated with conventional therapy alone.


Time of follow-up was 33.25 months in the prostacyclin group and 20 months in the conventional group. The one- three- and five- year survival rates were 86%, 50% and 38% respectively for patients treated with epoprostenol compared with 40%, 40% and 8% survival rates at idetical periods for patients treated conventionally (p = 0,02). Functional class and the mean distance walked in the 6 minutes test were improved in patients treated with prostacyclin (p < 0,01). Serious complications attributable to the delivery system included 3 deaths, mainly due to infection.


Continuous intravenous epoprostenol therapy improves survival and exercise capacity in patients with severe pulmonary arterial hypertension despite potentially serious complications attributable to the delivery system.

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