© The Author(s) 2018. Regression of pulmonary hypertension (PH) is often incomplete after successful left-sided valve replacement (LSVR). Proximal pulmonary arterial (PPA) wall disease can be involved in patients with persistent-PH after LSVR, affecting the right ventricular to pulmonary arterial (RV-PA) coupling. Fifteen patients underwent successful LSVR at least one year ago presenting PH by echo (> 50 mmHg). Prosthesis-patient mismatch and left ventricular dysfunction were discarded. All patients underwent hemodynamic and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) study. We estimated PPA stiffness (elastic modulus [EM]) and the relative area wall thickness (AWT). Acute vasoreactivity was assessed by inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) testing. RV-PA coupling was estimated by the tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion to systolic pulmonary arterial pressure ratio. Patients were classified as isolated post-capillary PH (Ipc-PH; pulmonary vascular resistance [PVR] ≤ 3 WU and/or diastolic pulmonary gradient [DPG] < 7 mmHg) and combined post- and pre-capillary PH (Cpc-PH; PVR > 3 WU and DPG ≥ 7 mmHg). Both Ipc-PH and Cpc-PH showed a significant increase of EM and AWT. Despite normal PVR and DPG, Ipc-PH had a significant decrease in pulmonary arterial capacitance and RV-PA coupling impairment. Cpc-PH had worse PA stiffness and RV-PA coupling to Ipc-PH (P < 0.05). iNO decreased RV afterload, improving the cardiac index and stroke volume only in Cpc-PH (P < 0.05). Patients with persistent PH after successful LSVR have PPA wall disease and RV-PA coupling impairment beyond the hemodynamic phenotype. Cpc-PH is responsive to iNO, having the worse PA stiffness and RV-PA coupling. The PPA remodeling could be an early event in the natural history of PH associated with left heart disease.
- inhaled nitric oxide
- left-sided valve replacement
- pulmonary arterial wall
- pulmonary hypertension
- right ventricular to pulmonary arterial coupling