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Int J Cardiol. 2007 Aug 21;120(2):198-204. Epub 2006 Dec 19.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension in congenital heart disease: an epidemiologic perspective from a Dutch registry.

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Department of Cardiology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) associated with congenital heart disease is usually the result of a large systemic-to-pulmonary shunt, and often leads to right ventricular failure and early death. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of PAH among adult patients included in a national registry of congenital heart disease and to assess the relation between patient characteristics and PAH.


Patients with PAH associated with a septal defect were identified from the registry. Gender, age, underlying diagnosis, previous closure, age at repair and NYHA classification were recorded. PAH was defined as a systolic pulmonary arterial pressure (sPAP) greater than 40 mm Hg, estimated by means of echocardiographical evaluation.


The prevalence of PAH among all 5970 registered adult patients with congenital heart disease was 4.2%. Of 1824 patients with a septal defect in the registry, 112 patients (6.1%) had PAH. Median age of these patients was 38 years (range 18-81 years) and 40% were male. Of these patients, 58% had the Eisenmenger syndrome. Among the patients with a previously closed septal defect, 30 had PAH (3%). Ventricular septal defect (VSD) was the most frequent underlying defect (42%) among patients with PAH and a septal defect. Female sex (Odds ratio=1.5, p=0.001) and sPAP (Odds ratio=0.04, p<0.001) were independently associated with a decreased functional class.


PAH is common in adult patients with congenital heart disease. In our registry the prevalence of PAH in septal defects is around 6%. More than half of these patients have the Eisenmenger syndrome, which accounts for 1% of the total population in the CONCOR registry. Whether the prevalence of PAH will decrease in the future as a result of early detection and intervention remains to be awaited.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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