Pulmonary arterial hypertension and atrial arrhythmias: incidence, risk factors, and clinical impact

PVRI Member Authors: Valentina Mercurio, Paul Hassoun, Ryan Tedford, Stephen C. Mathai, Todd Kolb, Gabriele Tocchetti, rachel damico, Grace Peloquin


Atrial arrhythmia (AA) occurrence in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) may determine clinical deterioration and affect prognosis. In this study we assessed AA incidence in idiopathic (IPAH) and systemic sclerosis related PAH (SSc-PAH) and evaluated risk factors, management, and impact on mortality. We collected baseline data from consecutive IPAH or SSc-PAH patients prospectively enrolled in the Johns Hopkins Pulmonary Hypertension Registry between January 2000 and July 2016. During follow-up AA onset, treatment, and outcome were recorded. Among 317 patients (201 SSc-PAH, 116 IPAH), 42 developed AA (19 atrial fibrillation, 10 flutter-fibrillation, 9 atrial flutter, and 4 atrial ectopic tachycardia) with a 13.2% cumulative incidence. Most events were associated with hospitalization (90.5%). Electrical or pharmacological cardioversion was attempted in most cases. Patients with AA had higher right atrial pressure, pulmonary wedge pressure (P < 0.005), NT-proBNP (P < 0.05), and thyroid disease prevalence (P < 0.005). Higher mortality was observed in patients with AA, though not statistically significant (LogRank P = 0.323). Similar long-term mortality between IPAH with AA and SSc-PAH without AA was observed (LogRank P = 0.098). SSc-PAH with AA had the worst prognosis. In PAH patients AA occurrence is a matter of significant concern. Therapeutic strategies aimed at restoring sinus rhythm may represent an important goal.

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Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Pulmonary Hypertension
Right Ventricle: Structure, Function and Dysfunction


Khalil I. Bourji, Nermin Diab, Takahiro Sato, Blessing Enobun, Traci Housten-Harris

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Pulmonary Circulation Vol 8: No 2 cover image

June 2018

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 8: No 2

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