Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is primarily managed by pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE). As advanced surgical techniques permit resection at the segmental and subsegmental level, PTE can now be curative for CTEPH mostly involving the distal pulmonary arteries.
Between January 2017 and June 2021, consecutive patients undergoing PTE were categorized according to the most proximal level of chronic thrombus resection: Level I (main pulmonary artery), Level II (lobar), Level III (segmental) and Level IV (subsegmental). Proximal disease patients (any Level I or II) were compared to distal disease (Level III or IV bilaterally) patients. Demographics, medical history, preoperative pulmonary hemodynamics, and immediate postoperative outcomes were obtained for each group.
During the study period, 794 patients underwent PTE, 563 with proximal disease and 231 with distal disease. Patients with distal disease more frequently had a history of an indwelling intravenous device, splenectomy, upper extremity thrombosis or use thyroid replacement and less often had prior lower extremity thrombosis or hypercoagulable state. Despite more use of PAH-targeted medications in the distal disease group (63.2% vs. 50.1%, p<0.001), pre-operative hemodynamics were similar. Both patient groups exhibited significant improvements in pulmonary hemodynamics postoperatively with comparable in-hospital mortality rates. Compared to proximal disease, a lower percentage of patients with distal disease showed residual pulmonary hypertension (3.1% vs. 6.9%, p=0.039) and airway hemorrhage (3.0% vs. 6.6%, p=0.047) post-operatively.
Thromboendarterectomy for distal (segmental and subsegmental) CTEPH is technically feasible and may result in favorable pulmonary hemodynamic outcomes, without increased mortality or morbidity
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