Treatment of segmental pulmonary artery hypertension in adults with congenital heart disease

Mark J. Schuuring, Berto J. Bouma, Rachael Cordina, Michael A. Gatzoulis, Werner Budts, Mary P. Mullen, Jeroen C. Vis, David Celermajer, Barbara J.M. Mulder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in patients with congenital heart disease (CHD) usually has a homogeneous pressure distribution. More rarely, complex CHD patients have segmental PAH. This is often post-surgically. The characteristics of these patients and their responsiveness to specific pulmonary vasodilator therapy have not been described. Methods: Seven adults with segmental PAH complicating CHD were treated at 3 specialized adult CHD centers between January 2006 and December 2010. Clinical characteristics, six minute walking distances (6MWD), laboratory tests and images were obtained from medical records and the responses to Bosentan, an endothelin-1 receptor antagonist, were assessed. Results: All patients (mean age 32 (23-42) years, five females) had a primary diagnosis pulmonary atresia (PA), four with major aortopulmonary collateral arteries (MAPCAs). Four segmental PAH patients had a right pulmonary artery stenosis, two a left pulmonary artery stenosis and one a unilateral MAPCA stenosis. All patients were symptomatic (functional class II or III) and bosentan was started empirically. Bosentan treatment led to a significant improvement in functional class compared to baseline (1.7 ± 0.5 versus 2.4 ± 0.5; p < 0.01). Mean 6MWD (available in 6 patients) increased by 62 m (22-150 m) from 386 ± 135 to 448 ± 133 m (p = 0.03) after 12 months treatment. Most improvement was seen in patients with low baseline 6MWD. Higher baseline exercise heart rate was significantly associated with lesser improvement in 6MWD (r = - 0.91 p = 0.01). Laboratory results did not change after initiation of bosentan treatment. Conclusion: This small retrospective case series suggested a significant improvement of functional class and exercise capacity after bosentan treatment in patients with segmental PAH. These findings warrant a prospective study of the potential benefit of selective pulmonary vasodilator therapy in these complex patients. Therefore, we call on treating physicians to share similar cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-110
Number of pages5
JournalInternational journal of cardiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Bosentan
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • Segmental
  • n/a OA procedure


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