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Triple vasodilator therapy in pulmonary arterial hypertension associated with congenital heart disease


Objective This study assessed the long-term effects of triple therapy with prostanoids on patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension associated with congenital heart disease (PAH-CHD), as there is limited information on the safety and efficacy of this treatment approach.

Methods A retrospective cohort study was conducted on patients with PAH-CHD who were actively followed up at our centre. All patients were already receiving dual combination therapy at maximum doses. Clinical characteristics, including functional class (FC), 6-minute walking test distance (6MWTD) and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels, were documented before initiating triple therapy and annually for a 2-year follow-up period.

Results A total of 60 patients were included in the study, with a median age of 41 years and 68% being women. Of these, 32 had Eisenmenger syndrome, 9 had coincidental shunts, 18 had postoperative PAH and 1 had a significant left-to-right shunt. After 1 year of triple combination initiation, a significant improvement in 6MWTD was observed (406 vs 450; p=0.0027), which was maintained at the 2-year follow-up. FC improved in 79% of patients at 1 year and remained stable in 76% at 2 years. NT-proBNP levels decreased significantly by 2 years, with an average reduction of 199 ng/L. Side effects were experienced by 33.3% of patients but were mostly mild and manageable. Subgroup analysis showed greater benefits in patients without Eisenmenger syndrome and those with pre-tricuspid defects.

Conclusions Triple therapy with prostanoids is safe and effective for patients with PAH-CHD, improving FC, 6MWTD and NT-proBNP levels over 2 years. The treatment is particularly beneficial for patients with pre-tricuspid defects and non-Eisenmenger PAH-CHD.

  • Heart Defects, Congenital
  • Pharmacology
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary
  • Pharmacology, Clinical

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information.

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