Pulmonary mechanical function and gas exchange were studied in 33 patients with advanced pulmonary vascular disease, resulting from primary pulmonary hypertension in 18 cases and from Eisenmenger physiology in 15 cases. Evidence of airway obstruction was found in most patients. In addition, mean total lung capacity (TLC) was only 81.5% of predicted and 27% of our subjects had values of TLC less than one standard deviation below the mean predicted value. The mean value for transfer factor (TLCO) was 71.8% of predicted and appreciable arterial hypoxaemia was present, which was disproportionate to the mild derangements in pulmonary mechanics. Patients with Eisenmenger physiology had significantly lower values of arterial oxygen tension (PaO2) (p less than 0.05) and of maximum mid expiratory flow (p less than 0.05) and significantly higher pulmonary arterial pressure (p less than 0.05) than those with primary pulmonary hypertension, but no other variables were significantly different between the two subpopulations. It is concluded that advanced pulmonary vascular disease in patients with primary pulmonary hypertension and Eisenmenger physiology is associated not only with severe hypoxaemia but also with altered pulmonary mechanical function.
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