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Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension and co-existing lung disease: is this a new phenotype?

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Nick Europe-Finner, Professor Andrew FisherORCiD, Dr James Lordan



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


© The Author(s) 2020.Patients classified as idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (defined as Group 1 on European Respiratory Society (ERS)/European Cardiac Society (ESC) criteria) may have evidence of minor co-existing lung disease on thoracic computed tomography. We hypothesised that these idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension patients (IPAH lung disease) are a separate subgroup of idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension with different phenotype and outcome compared with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension patients without co-existing lung disease (IPAH no lung disease). Patients with ‘IPAH lung disease’ have been eligible for all clinical trials of Group 1 patients because they have normal clinical examination and normal spirometry but we wondered whether they responded to treatment and had similar survival to patients with ‘IPAH no lung disease’. We described the outcome of the cohort of patients with ‘IPAH no lung disease’ in a previous paper. Here, we have compared incident ‘IPAH lung disease’ patients with ‘IPAH no lung disease’ patients diagnosed concurrently in all eight Pulmonary Hypertension centres in the UK and Ireland between 2001–2009. Compared with ‘IPAH no lung disease’ (n = 355), ‘IPAH lung disease’ patients (n = 137) were older, less obese, predominantly male, more likely to be current/ex-smokers and had lower six-minute walk distance, lower % predicted diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide, lower mean pulmonary arterial pressure and lower pulmonary vascular resistance index. After three months of pulmonary hypertension-targeted treatment, six-minute walk distance improved equally in ‘IPAH lung disease’ and ‘IPAH no lung disease’. However, survival of ‘IPAH lung disease’ was lower than ‘IPAH no lung disease’ (one year survival: 72% compared with 93%). This survival was significantly worse in ‘IPAH lung disease’ even after adjusting for age, gender, smoking history, comorbidities and haemodynamics. ‘IPAH lung disease’ patients had similar short-term improvement in six-minute walk distance with anti-pulmonary arterial hypertension therapy but worse survival compared with ‘IPAH no lung disease’ patients. This suggests that ‘IPAH lung disease’ are a separate phenotype and should not be lumped with ‘IPAH no lung disease’ in clinical trials of Group 1 pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Peacock AJ, Ling Y, Johnson MK, Kiely DG, Condliffe R, Elliot CA, Gibbs JSR, Howard LS, Pepke-Zaba J, Sheares KKK, Corris PA, Fisher AJ, Lordan JL, Gaine S, Coghlan JG, Wort SJ, Gatzoulis MA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Pulmonary Circulation

Year: 2020

Volume: 10

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 05/03/2020

Acceptance date: 23/02/2020

Date deposited: 20/04/2020

ISSN (print): 2045-8932

ISSN (electronic): 2045-8940

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.1177/2045894020914851


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