Author(s): Fasnacht MS, Tolsa JF, Beghetti M Swiss Societ
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a rare disease with a poor prognosis. Epidemiological data are scarce, particularly in the paediatric population. A registry was recently developed in order to collect epidemiological data on patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in Switzerland. This is the first description of the paediatric data. METHODS: Paediatric patients aged 0-18 years with the diagnosis of PAH were enrolled in the registry from 1999 to 2005 with informed consent from their parents. Patient characteristics, PAH aetiology, functional capacity, exercise capacity, treatments and outcome were among the most important data collected. RESULTS: A total of 23 patients (12 male, 11 female) have been thus far included in the registry. Median age at time of diagnosis was 3 years (range 1 month-18 years) and median follow-up was 3.47 years (range 1 day-12.6 years). PAH aetiologies are diagnosed as idiopathic in 8/23 patients (34.8\%) and associated with congenital heart diseases in 12/23 (52.2\%) or with pulmonary diseases in 3/23 patients (13.0\%). Death occurred in 1 patient before treatment was initiated. Single treatments include medications with a calcium channel blocker in 2/23 patients, with bosentan in 10/23, and with inhaled iloprost in 1/23. Combined therapies include bosentan and inhaled iloprost in 7/23 patients, bosentan and sildenafil in 2/23 patients, and bosentan, sildenafil and inhaled iloprost in 2/23 patients. Additional oral anticoagulation is given to 14/23 patients and 8/23 patients are on oxygen therapy. NYHA class at baseline visit was obtained in 22/23 patients (4 NYHA 2, 17 NYHA 3 and 1 NYHA 4). Changes in NYHA class were observed over a 2-year period in 3/22 patients who improved from NYHA 3 to NYHA 2. Initial improvement of 6-minute walk distance was observed in 6/13 patients with a sustained improvement in 4. CONCLUSION: These preliminary results provide information on the epidemiology of PAH in children in Switzerland and demonstrate that most paediatric patients show stabilisation of the disease under new treatments. This underscores the utility of registries for rare diseases in providing crucial information in the era of new therapies. It may also help to improve the future medical approach.
This article was published in Swiss Med Wkly
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology