Safety of right heart catheterization for pulmonary hypertension in very elderly patients


Right heart catheterization (RHC) is the reference test in diagnosing pulmonary hypertension (PH). The increasing age of patients at the time of diagnosis raises the issue of the morbidity of this invasive test in elderly individuals. We hypothesized that the morbidity associated with RHC would be increased in elderly patients and highlight differences in hemodynamic characteristics compared to younger patients. A retrospective study was conducted in a regional referral center for PH. Data for all consecutive RHCs performed during the study period were analyzed. Over a five-year period, 1060 RHCs were performed. Of the patients, 228 (21.5%) were aged ≥75 years and 832 (78.5%) were aged <75 years. Duration of the procedure and site of puncture did not differ according to age group (all P > 0.05). Nine procedures (0.9%) led to complications: three (1.3%) in patients aged >75 years and six (0.7%) in younger patients aged (P = 0.5). Eight were local vascular injuries, directly related to a femoral vein puncture (P < 0.001). Pulmonary arterial pressure and cardiac output were lower in patients aged >75 years than in younger patients (P = 0.001). RHC may be performed regardless of patient age. The rate of RHC complications is not increased in individuals aged >75 years. As most complications were related to femoral vein puncture, this route should be avoided whenever possible.

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Marylise Ginoux, Vincent Cottin, Jean-Charles Glérant, Julie Traclet, François Philit, Agathe Sénéchal, Jean-Francois Mornex, Ségolène Turquier

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Pulmonary Circulation Vol 8: No 4 cover image

December 2018

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 8: No 4

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