Acute effects of nebulised epoprostenol in pulmonary hypertension due to systemic sclerosis
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Pulmonary hypertension often has a lethal outcome in systemic sclerosis and the treatment is challenging. Epoprostenol is a potent pulmonary vasodilator and its efficacy has been demonstrated when delivered by the intravenous and aerosolized routes. We report the haemodynamic and functional benefits of epoprostenol administered by inhalation to a spontaneously breathing patient with partially reversible pulmonary hypertension due to systemic sclerosis. Aerosolized epoprostenol, equivalent to the maximum tolerated intravenous dose (31.2 micrograms), produced a 58% fall in pulmonary vascular resistance, increased the cardiac output by 42% and improved functional performance by one MET (3.5 ml kg-1 min-1 of oxygen uptake) without any significant side-effects. Selective distribution of epoprostenol by the inhaled route may offer a new strategy for treatment of pulmonary hypertension.
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