Kidney dysfunction in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension

PVRI Member Authors: Evan Brittain, Dr. Josh Fessel, Roham Zamanian, James West, Eric Austin


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PH) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) both profoundly impact patient outcomes, whether as primary disease states or as co-morbid conditions. PH is a common co-morbidity in CKD and vice versa. A growing body of literature describes the epidemiology of PH secondary to chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) (WHO group 5 PH). But, there are only limited data on the epidemiology of kidney disease in group 1 PH (pulmonary arterial hypertension [PAH]). The purpose of this review is to summarize the current data on epidemiology and discuss potential disease mechanisms and management implications of kidney dysfunction in PAH. Kidney dysfunction, determined by serum creatinine or estimated glomerular filtration rate, is a frequent co-morbidity in PAH and impaired kidney function is a strong and independent predictor of mortality. Potential mechanisms of PAH affecting the kidneys are increased venous congestion, decreased cardiac output, and neurohormonal activation. On a molecular level, increased TGF-β signaling and increased levels of circulating cytokines could have the potential to worsen kidney function. Nephrotoxicity does not seem to be a common side effect of PAH-targeted therapy. Treatment implications for kidney disease in PAH include glycemic control, lifestyle modification, and potentially Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System (RAAS) blockade.

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Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension


N.P. Nickel, J.M. O’Leary, E.L. Brittain, J.P. Fessel, R.T. Zamanian, J.D. West, E.D. Austin

Published in:

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 7: No 1 cover image

March 2017

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 7: No 1

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