Sarcoidosis-associated pulmonary hypertension: Outcome with long-term epoprostenol treatment


Rationale: Pulmonary hypertension is a known complication of sarcoidosis and is associated with increased mortality. Little is known about the outcome of sarcoidosis-associated pulmonary hypertension, including response to treatment. Objective: To determine the characteristics and outcome of patients with sarcoidosis-associated pulmonary hypertension treated with IV epoprostenol. Design: Retrospective chart review of all cases of pulmonary hypertension with a concomitant diagnosis of sarcoidosis evaluated in the Boston University Pulmonary Hypertension Center from 2000 to 2004. Measurements: Data collected included patient demographics, sarcoidosis stage, pulmonary function, echocardiography results, treatment, baseline and posttreatment hemodynamic measurements, and clinical outcome. Results: Eight patients were identified; four of the patients had stage IV pulmonary sarcoidosis. Pulmonary function test results were notable for severe diffusion impairment (mean diffusion capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide, 30% of predicted), with only mild-to-moderate restrictive physiology (mean FVC, 59% of predicted). Seventy-five percent of patients required supplemental oxygen at the time of presentation. All patients had moderate or severe pulmonary hypertension and were New York Heart Association (NYHA)/World Health Organization (WHO) class III or IV. A vasodilator trial with epoprostenol was performed in seven of the eight patients; six of the seven patients had a significant hemodynamic response (> 25% reduction in pulmonary vascular resistance). All but one of the responders (five of six patients) continued on therapy. Average clinical improvement was one to two NYHA/WHO classes at a mean follow-up of 29 months (range, 15 to 49 months). Conclusions: In patients with sarcoidosis-associated pulmonary hypertension, the severity of pulmonary vascular disease occurs out of proportion to lung function abnormalities. The majority of our patients responded to epoprostenol; survival may be improved in this group.

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