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Circulation. 1994 Jun;89(6):2722-7.

Pulmonary hypertension in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection. Comparison with primary pulmonary hypertension.

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Hôpital Antoine Béclère, Clamart, France.



Previously reported cases of patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are poorly documented regarding baseline hemodynamics and potential for pulmonary vasodilatation. The purpose of this report was to compare HIV-infected patients who had PH with non-HIV-infected patients who had primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) in terms of (1) clinical characteristics, (2) hemodynamics in baseline conditions and during a short-term vasodilator trial with epoprostenol, and (3) survival.


Between April 1987 and August 1992, 20 HIV-infected patients with PH and 93 non-HIV-infected patients with PPH were referred to our department. At the time of referral, baseline right-side heart hemodynamics were obtained in addition to demographic variables and medical history. A short-term vasodilator trial with epoprostenol was performed in 19 of 20 HIV-infected and 86 of 93 non-HIV-infected patients. Outcome and survival were analyzed and compared for both groups (22 transplant recipients were excluded from the group of patients with PPH). At the time of diagnosis of PH, HIV-infected patients significantly differed from non-HIV-infected patients in age (32 +/- 5 versus 42 +/- 13 years; P < .05) and degree of disability (New York Heart Association functional class III or IV, 50% versus 75%; P < .01). The proportion of disease states known to be associated with PPH (Raynaud's phenomenon, migraine, collagen disease without overt symptoms and signs, or a positive family history of PPH) was similar in the two groups. HIV-infected patients had a severe but significantly lower level of PH than patients with PPH. The percentage of responders to epoprostenol and the level achieved in pulmonary vasodilatation were similar in the two groups. PH was the cause of death in 8 of the 10 HIV-infected patients who died within 1 year after the diagnosis of PH. Overall survival was poor and not significantly different between the two groups. Pathological findings in lung tissue obtained from 3 HIV-infected patients were close to those seen in most of the lung specimens available from 27 patients with PPH and resembled plexogenic pulmonary arteriopathy.


These results support the view that HIV infection may now be regarded as another common disease state that can be associated with PPH development. The lower initial severity in HIV-infected patients may be due to the close medical attention usually devoted to such patients, who may account for an earlier diagnosis. However, the overall survival rate of HIV-infected patients with PH appeared to be as poor as in non-HIV-infected patients with PPH.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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