Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare disease that carries a poor prognosis. For 45 years, the definition of pulmonary hypertension (PH) has been a mean pulmonary arterial pressure (mPAP) ≥ 25 mmHg, based on expert opinion. Recent data indicate that the mortality risk starts in the mPAP range of 21–24 mmHg, which has recently been reflected in the World Symposium on PH consensus document defining PH as a mPAP > 20 mmHg. The mortality associated with these lower levels of pulmonary pressures suggests that these values reflect a more advanced disease stage than previously recognized. It is unknown whether interventions targeting patients with mPAP values in the range of 21–24 mmHg in the absence of left ventricular or hypoxic lung disease are of clinical benefit. Here we present historical perspective on the hemodynamic definition of PH, discuss recent epidemiologic data, and outline obstacles to enrolling and evaluating response to therapy in mild PAH patients, as well as potentially useful study designs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine