Age-Dependent Likelihood of In Situ Thrombosis in Secondary Pulmonary Hypertension

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Pulmonary arterial thrombosis (PAT) may complicate the clinical course of pulmonary hypertension associated with congenital heart disease (so-called Eisenmenger syndrome, ES). In this study, variables were sought that could represent risk factors for the occurrence of this complication. Twenty patients aged 11 to 53 (median, 33) years were studied. The presence of PAT (spiral computed tomography angiography) was correlated with age, gender group, PAP, hematocrit, peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2), and plasma levels of endothelial and coagulation dysfunction markers: von Willebrand factor antigen (vWF:Ag), tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), and D-dimer (enzyme immunoassay). Patients were classified according to the presence (group 1, N=7), or absence (group 2, N=13) of PAT. Group 1 patients were older (42±8 vs. 27±10 years in group 2, p=0.0051), had lower SpO2 (82±7% vs. 89±6% in group 2, p=0.0462) and increased D-dimer levels (637 vs. 149 ng/mL in group 2, median values, p=0.0235). A trend was observed toward an increase in vWF:Ag (125±29 vs. 103±18 U/dL in group 2, p=0.0789) and t-PA (15.7 vs. 9.4 ng/mL in group 2, median values, p=0.0689). Age was the main variable influencing the occurrence of PAT in multivariate analysis (p=0.0026), with odds ratio of 1.204 per year. The age of 35 years was 86% sensitive and 85% specific for occurrence of PAT. Age correlated positively with t-PA (r=0.57, p=0.0111). Thus, PAT is highly prevalent in ES as an age-dependent event, probably associated with endothelial dysfunction. Prophylactic anticoagulation should be considered before the age of 30 years, in particular in subjects with low SpO2 and increased D-dimer levels.

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