Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: Thin-Section CT Predictors of Epoprostenol Therapy Failure

PURPOSE: To correlate pretherapeutic thin-section computed tomographic (CT) findings in patients with pulmonary hypertension with the risk of fatality with treatment with epoprostenol.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seventy-three consecutive patients with severe pulmonary hypertension treated with epoprostenol were retrospectively separated into two groups. The first group included 12 patients who had a fatal outcome with epoprostenol therapy. The second group (n = 61) was a reference group of patients with epoprostenol-induced clinical improvement. Pretherapeutic thin-section CT scans of each patient were reviewed.

RESULTS: Poorly defined nodular opacities (P = .003), septal lines (P = .04), pleural effusion (P = .01), and adenopathy (P = .009) strongly correlated with a risk of clinical worsening with treatment. In six patients in group 1, postmortem examination of the lung revealed either pulmonary veno-occlusive disease or pulmonary capillary hemangiomatosis.

CONCLUSION: On pretherapeutic thin-section CT scans, poorly defined nodular opacities, septal lines, pleural effusion, and adenopathy should raise suspicion for pulmonary veno-occlusive disease or pulmonary capillary hemangiomatosis and provoke possible further evaluation before epoprostenol therapy.

© RSNA, 2002


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Article History

Published in print: Mar 2002