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Ann Thorac Med. 2019 Jan-Mar;14(1):83-89. doi: 10.4103/atm.ATM_33_18.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension in Saudi patients with systemic sclerosis: Clinical and hemodynamic characteristics and mortality.

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Department of Critical Care, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonology, Prince Sultan Military Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonology, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
King Fahad Cardiac Centre, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.



Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). The objective of this study is to describe the clinical characteristics, mortality, and predictors of SSc-PAH in Saudi patients.


Retrospective chart review study of SSc patients who were followed for at least 1 year in three tertiary care centers in Saudi Arabia was conducted. Clinical information, echocardiographic findings, and right heart catheterization (RHC) results were collected. Descriptive statistics were used for demographic and disease characteristics.


Fifty-seven patients with SSc were reviewed. PAH was confirmed by RHC in 40 patients (87.5%, females). Their mean age was 45.43 ± 13.48 years. The mean pulmonary artery pressure was 42.9 ± 12.7 mmHg, the pulmonary vascular resistance index was 19.4 ± 7.7 woods unit, and cardiac index was 2.43 ± 0.68 min/m2. The median time from symptoms to first assessment was 42.8 ± 115.62 months. Most patients (77.5%) presented with functional Class III or IV and more than half (22.55%) were on dual combination therapy. Ten patients (25%) SSc PAH died over a follow up period of 37 ± 7 months. Compared to SSc patients without PAH, SSc-PAH patients had shorter 6-min walk distance (6MWD) (296.1 ± 116.5 vs. 399.59 ± 40.60 m, P < 0.0001), higher pro-brain natriuretic peptide (1755.8 ± 2123.4 vs. 69.8 ± 44.3 pg/ml P = 0.004), and more frequent Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) (90% vs. 35%, P < 0.0001). Logistic regression showed RP (odds ratio [OR] =48.58, 95% confidence interval [CI]; 3.73-633.10) and 6MWD (OR 1.02: 95% CI; 1.01-1.03) were associated with the development of PAH.


Our cohort of Saudi SSc-PAH patients has a younger disease onset and a lower mortality than what is described worldwide despite late presentation and requirement of combination therapy. The presence of RP and lower were associated with the development of SSc-PAH.


Mortality; Saudi Arabia; pulmonary arterial hypertension; systemic sclerosis

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