Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Haematologica. 2013 Sep;98(9):1359-67. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2012.082065. Epub 2013 Apr 12.

Sildenafil therapy in thalassemia patients with Doppler-defined risk of pulmonary hypertension.

Author information

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Emergency Medicine, Emory-Children’s Center for Developmental Lung Biology,Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Pulmonary hypertension is a common but often overlooked complication associated with thalassemia syndromes. There are limited data on the safety and efficacy of selective pulmonary vasodilators in this at-risk population. We, therefore, designed a 12-week, open-label, phase 1/2, pilot-scale, proof-of-principle trial of sildenafil therapy in 10 patients with β-thalassemia and at increased risk of pulmonary hypertension based on an elevated tricuspid regurgitant jet velocity >2.5 m/s on Doppler-echocardiography. Variables compared at baseline and after 12 weeks of sildenafil treatment included Doppler-echocardiographic parameters, 6-minute walked distance, Borg Dyspnea Score, New York Heart Association functional class, pulmonary function, and laboratory parameters. Treatment with sildenafil resulted in a significant decrease in tricuspid regurgitant jet velocity by 13.3% (3.0±0.7 versus 2.6±0.5 m/s, P=0.04), improved left ventricular end systolic/diastolic volume, and a trend towards a improved New York Heart Association functional class. No significant change in 6-minute walked distance was noted. Sildenafil was well tolerated, although minor expected adverse events were commonly reported. The total dose of sildenafil (mg) was strongly correlated with percent change in nitric oxide metabolite concentration in the plasma (ρ=0.80, P=0.01). There were also significant increases in plasma and erythrocyte arginine concentrations. Our study suggests that sildenafil is safe and may improve pulmonary hemodynamics in patients at risk of pulmonary hypertension; however, it was not demonstrated to improve the distance walked in 6 minutes. Clinical trials are needed to identify the best treatment strategy for pulmonary hypertension in patients with β-thalassemia. ( identifier: NCT00872170).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Substances, Secondary source ID, Grant support

Publication types

MeSH terms


Secondary source ID

Grant support

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center