Vessel Stretching Is a Cause of Lumen Enlargement Immediately After Balloon Pulmonary Angioplasty: Intravascular Ultrasound Analysis in Patients With Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension

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Background—Balloon pulmonary angioplasty (BPA) has become an alternative therapy for patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension who are ineligible for pulmonary endarterectomy. We retrospectively investigated intravascular ultrasound measurements to elucidate how the lumen enlarges immediately after BPA.Methods and Results—A total of 326 lesions in 71 patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension were analyzed. The cross-sectional areas (CSAs) of the external elastic membrane and lumen measured by intravascular ultrasound before and after BPA were assessed for each lesion type (type A, ring-like stenosis lesions; type B, web lesions; type C, subtotal occlusion lesions). Comparing the lesion types, the proportion of the area occupied by fibrous tissue was smallest in the type A lesions and largest in the type C lesions. The mean lesion lumen CSA was increased after BPA because of an increase in external elastic membrane CSA (from 23.2±12.9 to 27.2±14.3 mm2; P<0.001) with a slight decrease in fibrous tissue plus media CSA (from 17.7±11.7 to 17.3±11.1 mm2; P<0.001). The change in lumen CSA correlated strongly with the change in external elastic membrane CSA (r2=0.762; P<0.001).Conclusions—Lumen enlargement immediately after BPA was obtained by the overall vessel expansion induced by a stretch of the arterial wall. In addition, the amount of fibrous tissue depended on each lesion type. Thus, it might be beneficial to change the balloon size to correspond with the lesion type.

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