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Pulmonary vascular resistance predicts early mortality in patients with diffuse fibrotic lung disease and suspected pulmonary hypertension
  1. T J Corte1,2,
  2. S J Wort1,
  3. M A Gatzoulis1,
  4. P Macdonald2,
  5. D M Hansell1,
  6. A U Wells1
  1. 1
    Royal Brompton Hospital and National Heart and Lung Institute, London, UK
  2. 2
    University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr A U Wells, Interstitial Lung Disease Unit, Royal Brompton Hospital and National Hearth and Lung Institute, Imperial College, Emmanuel Kaye Building, 1B Manresa Road, London SW3 6LP, UK; athol.wells{at}


Background: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is associated with a poor prognosis in diffuse lung disease (DLD). A study was undertaken to compare the prognostic significance of invasive and non-invasive parameters in patients with DLD and suspected PH.

Methods: Hospital records of consecutive patients with DLD undergoing right heart catheterisation (RHC) were reviewed (n = 66). Mean pulmonary artery pressure (mPAP), pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) and non-invasive variables were examined against early (within 12 months) and overall mortality. A priori thresholds were examined against early mortality. Relationships between mPAP, PVR and non-invasive markers were assessed.

Results: Fifty patients had PH on RHC (mean (SD) mPAP 33.5 (11.8) mm Hg, PVR 5.9 (4.3) Wood units (WU)). Raised PVR was strongly associated with early mortality (odds ratio (OR) 1.30; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11 to 1.52; p = 0.001), with PVR ⩾6.23 WU being the optimal threshold after adjustment for age, gender, composite physiological index (CPI) and diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (OR 11.09; 95% CI 2.54 to 48.36; p = 0.001). Early mortality was linked, albeit less strongly, to right ventricular dilation at echocardiography, but not to other non-invasive variables or mPAP. Overall mortality was most strongly associated with increasing CPI levels. Correlations between PVR and non-invasive variables were moderate (R2 <0.32), improving little following construction of a multivariate index which did not itself predict mortality.

Conclusion: In severe DLD, early mortality is strongly linked to increased PVR but not to other RHC or non-invasive variables. These findings suggest that the threshold for RHC in severe DLD should be low, enabling prioritisation of aggressive treatment including lung transplantation.

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  • Funding This research has been partly supported by an educational grant from Actelion Pharmaceuticals.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • ▸ Additional methods are published online only at