Background: It has been postulated that right ventricular (RV) function may improve after lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) for severe emphysema due to improvement in lung elastic recoil. Improved lung elastic recoil after LVRS is hypothesized to “tether” open extraalveolar vessels, thereby leading to a decrease in pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) and improved RV function. Whether a relationship exists between static elastic lung recoil and pulmonary hemodynamics in severe emphysema, however, is unknown.
Methods: We prospectively studied 67 patients with severe emphysema (32 women; mean age, 65.3 ± 6.6 years [SD]; mean FEV1, 0.79 ± 0.25 L) who had hyperinflation (total lung capacity [TLC], 122.5 ± 12.3% of predicted) and gas trapping (residual volume, 209.1 ± 41.1% of predicted), and were referred to the National Emphysema Treatment Trial. Lung elastic recoil was measured both at TLC (coefficient of retraction [CR]) and at functional reserve capacity (CR at functional residual capacity [CRfrc]) in each patient.
Results: CR and CRfrc values were 1.3 ± 0.6 cm H2O/L and 0.61 ± 0.5 cm H2O/L, respectively. Hemodynamic measurements revealed a pulmonary artery (PA) systolic pressure of 35.9 ± 8.9 mm Hg, mean PA pressure of 24.8 ± 5.6 mm Hg, and PVR of 174 ± 102 dyne * s * cm−5. No significant correlations were found between CR and PVR (R = − 0.046, p = 0.71), PA systolic pressure (R = 0.005, p = 0.97), or mean PA pressure (R = − 0.028, p = 0.82). Additionally, no significant correlations were found between CRfrc and PVR (R = − 0.002, p = 0.99), PA systolic pressure (R = − 0.062, p = 0.62), or mean PA pressure (R = − 0.041, p = 0.74).
Conclusions: We conclude there is no correlation between lung elastic recoil and pulmonary hemodynamics in severe emphysema, suggesting that elastic lung recoil is not an important determinant of secondary pulmonary hypertension in this group. Registered with www. clinicaltrials.gov, #NCT00000606.