Vol.47 - Número 4, Octubre/Diciembre 2018 Imprimir sólo la columna central

Pulmonary endarterectomy: Potentially curative treatment for patients
with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension

3era Cátedra de Patología y Clínica Médica. Facultad de Medicina. UNT
Hospital Centro de Salud “Zenón J Santillán
(4000) San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina.
Recibido 17-OCT-2018 – ACEPTADO 27 de OCTUBRE de 2018.
There are no conflicts of interest to disclose.


Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is a progressive and devastating disease if not treated timely. It belongs to a unique subtype of potentially curable pulmonary hypertension [1]. CTEPH is a result of the fibrotic transformation of thrombi in the pulmonary artery tree that causes chronic obstruction and microvasculature remodeling; and consequently, increase in pressure and resistance in pulmonary vasculature, finally leading to right heart failure and premature mortality [2].

The diagnosis of CTEPH requires 3 months of effective anticoagulation and a mean pulmonary artery pressure (MPAP) >25 mmHg, with pulmonary capillary wedge pressure ≤15 mmHg, and at least one segmental perfusion defect [3].

Pulmonary endarterectomy (PEA) offers, as a therapeutic alternative, the best possibility of symptomatic and prognostic improvement in eligible patients, with excellent results in the long term, in expert centers [4]. The guidelines by the European Society of Cardiology and the European Respiratory Society recommend pulmonary endarterectomy as the treatment of choice for patients with CTEPH.

Not all patients will be eligible for PEA, and factors like an advanced age, co-morbidities, imbalance between pulmonary vascular resistance increase and the number of accessible occlusions, deficient general condition of the patient, should be considered to determine the chances to operate [5]. To be considered operable, a patient should have enough surgically accessible thromboembolic material, with a proportional pulmonary vascular resistance, that would indicate absence of extensive secondary vasculopathy.

The multidisciplinary team in charge of the treatment should include at least one experienced surgeon, understanding as such, someone with at least 20 pulmonary endarterectomies performed the previous year and/or >40 PEA within 3 years before the study cases started to be evaluated. Thromboembolic disease located proximally in the main, lobar or segmental arteries is susceptible of PEA in most surgical centers; not so distal disease of segmental and subsegmental branches, which are more challenging for the surgeon [6].

The surgical classification of CTEPH, redefined by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), was specifically developed to treat distal thromboembolic disease, with a capacity to differentiate 5 levels of disease location, segmental and subsegmental [7].

In light of the PEA surgical technique requiring a properly trained multidisciplinary team, at least one experienced surgeon, specialized training, deep hypothermic circulatory arrest, and sophisticated postsurgical intensive care, the experience and results presented by Talavera et al, of the Instituto Cardiovascular de Buenos Aires in this issue of the Revista de FAC [8], are really encouraging. See the paper published

Some reference centers even propose PEA for selected patients with symptomatic chronic thromboembolic disease with no pulmonary hypertension [9], to improve symptoms and quality of life, with encouraging results in evaluation at 6 and 12 months after the intervention.


  1. Luciardi HL, Baldasaria RA. Hipertensión pulmonar tromboembólica crónica. Una oportunidad para cambiar su evolución. Rev Fed Arg Cardiol 2017; 46 (Supl. HP): 1-2.
  2. Galiè N, Humbert M, Vachiery JL, et al. 2015 ESC/ERS guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary hypertension. The Joint Task Force for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Respiratory Society (ERS). Eur Respir J 2015; 46: 903-75.
  3. Kim NH, Delcroix M, Jenkins DP, et al. Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. J Am Coll Cardiol
    2013; 62: Suppl. 25, D92–D99.
  4. Taboada D, Pepke-Zaba J, Jenkins DP, et al. Outcome of pulmonary endarterectomy in symptomatic chronic
    thromboembolic disease. Eur Respir J 2014; 44: 1635-45.
  5. Jenkins DP, Biederman A, D’Armini AM, et al. Operability assessment in CTEPH: lessons from the CHEST-1
    study. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2016; 152: 669-74.
  6. Jenkins D. Pulmonary endarterectomy: the potentially curative treatment for patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. Eur Respir Rev 2015; 24: 263-71.
  7. Jenkins D, Madani M, Fadel E, et al. Pulmonary endarterectomy in the management of chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. Eur Respir Rev 2017; 26: 160111.
  8. Talavera ML, Camporrotondo M, Acosta A, et al. Hipertensión pulmonar tromboembólica crónica. Experiencia de un centro de referencia en Argentina. Rev Fed Arg Cardiol 2018; 47 (4): __-__.
  9. de Perrot M, Mayer E. Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension: do we need a new definition? Eur Respir J 2014; 44: 1401-03.

Publication: December 2018


Revista de FAC


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