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Clinical Investigations: PULMONARY VASCULATURE |

Intravascular Ultrasound Assessment of Pulmonary Vascular Disease in Patients With Pulmonary Hypertension*

Erwan Bressollette, MD; Jocelyn Dupuis, MD, PhD; Raoul Bonan, MD; Serge Doucet, MD; Peter Cernacek, MD, PhD; Jean-Claude Tardif, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Medicine, Montreal Heart Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Correspondence to: Jean-Claude Tardif, MD, Research Center, Montreal Heart Institute, 5000 Bélanger St East, Montreal, Quebec H1T 1C8, Canada; e-mail: tardifjc@icm.umontreal.ca



Chest. 2001;120(3):809-815. doi:10.1378/chest.120.3.809
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Background: Measurements of pulmonary pressure and resistance are still considered to be the “gold standard” in the evaluation of pulmonary hypertension (PH), despite their limitations in predicting irreversible disease. Hemodynamic assessment also only provides a global evaluation of the pulmonary vascular bed, whereas PH is an inhomogeneous disease of the vessel wall.

Methods and results: We assessed the value of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) in 30 patients with suspected PH and correlated the structural changes in distal pulmonary arteries found on IVUS with conventional hemodynamic data. Plasma endothelin (ET)-1 levels and pulmonary ET-1 extraction also were measured as markers of the severity of PH. The anatomic abnormalities revealed by IVUS were more severe in the lower lobes than in the upper lobes, as evidenced by the greater percentage of wall thickness (WT), the smaller lumen diameter/WT and lumen area/total vessel area (p < 0.05 for each). IVUS anatomic indexes correlated directly with hemodynamic data (eg, with pulmonary arterial systolic pressure; r = 0.56; p < 0.001) and ET-1 levels but inversely with pulmonary ET-1 extraction.

Conclusion: Patients with PH have greater pulmonary arterial WT that is more severe in the lower lobes than in the upper lobes. The severity of structural abnormalities found on IVUS is directly correlated with hemodynamic findings and ET-1 levels. IVUS may provide useful additional information in the assessment of patients with PH.

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