Systemic Collateral Supply in Patients with Chronic Thromboembolic and Primary Pulmonary Hypertension: Assessment with Multi–Detector Row Helical CT Angiography

PURPOSE: To compare retrospectively the frequency of systemic collateral supply in patients who have chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension with the frequency of systemic collateral supply in patients who have primary pulmonary hypertension by using multi–detector row helical computed tomographic (CT) angiography.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: For this review, neither institutional board approval nor informed consent was required. Thirty-six consecutive patients, including 22 patients (four men, 18 women; mean age, 46.0 years) with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (group 1) and 14 patients (five men, nine women; mean age, 63.0 years) with primary pulmonary hypertension (group 2), underwent multisection spiral CT angiography of the pulmonary and systemic circulations with a four– (n = 17) or 16– (n = 19) detector row scanner. CT angiograms were assessed for the presence of abnormal bronchial and/or nonbronchial systemic arteries, CT features of pulmonary hypertension, and right ventricular dysfunction. Vascular and parenchymal signs of chronic pulmonary embolism were specifically analyzed on CT angiograms of group 1 patients. Comparative analyses were performed by using the χ2 or the Fisher exact test for categoric data. An unpaired bilateral Wilcoxon rank sum test was used for continuous data. A χ2 goodness-of-fit test was used to compare observed proportions with equal proportions.

RESULTS: The degree of pulmonary hypertension was comparable in groups 1 and 2. Abnormally enlarged systemic arteries were identified in 16 (73%) of 22 patients from group 1 and in two (14%) of 14 patients from group 2 (P = .002). The systemic collateral supply in group 1 comprised enlargement of both bronchial and nonbronchial systemic arteries in nine (56%) of the 16 patients; the remaining seven patients had an exclusive enlargement of bronchial systemic arteries (n = 6, 38%) or nonbronchial (n = 1, 6%) systemic arteries. A total of 31 enlarged nonbronchial systemic arteries were depicted, including 13 inferior phrenic arteries, 10 intercostal arteries, seven internal mammary arteries, and one lateral thoracic artery. The mean ± standard deviation of abnormal nonbronchial systemic arteries per patient was 1.4 ± 1.9. No relationship was found between the mean number of abnormally enlarged nonbronchial systemic arteries and the CT angiographic features of chronic pulmonary embolism.

CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate the higher frequency of abnormally enlarged bronchial and nonbronchial systemic arteries in patients who have chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension compared with patients who have primary pulmonary hypertension; this finding could help distinguish these two entities on CT angiograms.

© RSNA, 2005


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Article History

Published in print: Apr 2005