The efficacy of extensive balloon pulmonary angioplasty (BPA) beyond hemodynamic improvement in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) patients has been verified. However, the relationship between extensive BPA in CTEPH patients after partial hemodynamic improvement and exercise tolerance or quality of life (QOL) remains unclear. We prospectively enrolled 22 CTEPH patients (66±10 years, females: 59%) when their mean pulmonary artery pressure initially decreased to <30 mmHg during BPA sessions. Hemodynamic and echocardiographic data, cardiopulmonary exercise testing, and QOL scores using the 36-item short form questionnaire (SF-36) were evaluated at enrollment (entry), just after the final BPA session (finish), and at the 6-month follow-up (followup). We analyzed whether extensive BPA improves exercise capacity and QOL scores over time. Moreover, the clinical characteristics leading to improvement were elucidated. The peak oxygen uptake (VO2) showed significant improvement at entry, finish, and follow-up (17.3±5.5, 18.4±5.9, and 18.9±5.3 mL/kg/min, respectively; P<0.001). Regarding the QOL, the physical component summary (PCS) scores significantly improved (32±11, 38±13, and 43±13, respectively; P<0.001), but the mental component summary scores remained unchanged. Linear regression analysis revealed that age and a low peak VO2 at entry were predictors of improvement in peak VO2, while low PCS scores and low TAPSE at entry were predictors of improvement in PCS scores. In conclusion, extensive BPA led to improved exercise tolerance and physical QOL scores, even in CTEPH patients with partially improved hemodynamics.
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