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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Jun 16;43(12 Suppl S):73S-80S.

Interventional and surgical modalities of treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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Department of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Vienna University Hospital, Vienna, Austria.


Beyond medical therapy, different interventional and surgical approaches exist for treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Atrial septostomy has been applied in patients with lack of response to medical therapy in the absence of other surgical treatment options. With growing experience, procedure-related death rates have been reduced to 5.4%, and the most suitable patient group has been identified among patients with a mean right atrial pressure between 10 and 20 mm Hg. Pulmonary endarterectomy is the accepted form of treatment for patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. Establishing the diagnosis and the classification of the type of lesions by pulmonary angiography is crucial for optimal patient selection. Perioperative mortality rates have been reduced to <10% in experienced centers, and the hemodynamic improvement is dramatic and sustained. Lung and heart-lung transplantation remains the procedure of choice for patients unsuitable for other treatment modalities. Timing of the procedure is difficult because waiting times vary between centers and usually are in a high range. Early referral of patients unresponsive to other treatment forms is therefore of importance to avoid transplantation of patients with established significant comorbidity. The survival rate during the first five years after transplantation for PAH is intermediate among the lung diseases, lower than chronic obstructive pulmonary disease but higher than idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

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