Pulmonary arterial hypertension in the elderly-clinical characteristics and long-term survival

Avi Shimony, Benjamin D. Fox, Jonathan Afilalo, Lawrence G. Rudski, Andrew Hirsch, David Langleben*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Recent registries describe a significant prevalence of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in the elderly, but little is known of their characteristics. We aimed to examine the features and prognostic factors of long-term survival in elderly (≥65 years) PAH patients. Methods: Clinical, echocardiographic, angiographic, hemodynamic, treatments, and survival data were reviewed in consecutive patients over the course of 20 years. Elderly PAH patients (n = 47) were compared to younger PAH patients (n = 107). Results: At presentation, elderly patients were more likely to have hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, coronary disease, and PAH associated with scleroderma (42.6 vs. 24.3 %; p = 0.02) than younger patients. Prior to PAH therapy, elderly patients had better right ventricular myocardial performance index (RV-MPI; 0.48 ± 0.20 vs. 0.62 ± 0.23, p = 0.006) and lower mean pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP; 45.0 ± 11.1 vs. 49.2 ± 11.8 mmHg, p = 0.04). Elderly patients were treated less often with epoprostenol (8.5 vs. 29 %, p = 0.006) or trepostinil (8.5 vs. 23.4 %, p = 0.04). The 1, 3, and 5 year survival rates of elderly patients were estimated to be 76.4, 50.5, and 37.6 %, respectively. In comparison, younger patients had survival estimates of 92.2, 74.2 and 64.0 % (p = 0.002). Baseline right atrial pressure, mean PAP, cardiac index, and RV-MPI were associated with survival in elderly patients; however in these patients, survival was not affected by any PAH subgroup or age (per year) by itself. Conclusions: The diagnosis of PAH in elderly patients is associated with poorer survival which is in part explained by a greater vulnerability to the hemodynamic disturbances of PAH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-649
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Elderly
  • Mortality
  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • Survival


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