Pulmonary hypertension has a negative prognostic value in the progression of chronic obstructive lung disease. The hypoxic vasoconstriction and subsequent morphological alterations that occur in the small arteries and in the pre-capillary arterioles may contribute to the reduction of the pulmonary vascular bed. The evolution of pulmonary hypertension in patients with chronic obstructive lung disease is not rapid except during relapses of the disease. Oxygen therapy reduces pulmonary arterial pressure values not only via a reduction in the functional abnormalities of the vessels but also via a regression in the anatomic changes induced by hypoxemia. Thus, long-term oxygen therapy may slow the progression of pulmonary hypertension in the course of chronic obstructive lung disease and the longer is oxygen administration the better haemodynamic results are obtained. The Medical Research Council (MRC) Study and the Nocturnal Oxygen Therapy Trial (NOTT) have clearly demonstrated that mortality among hypoxiemic patients treated with low-flow oxygen therapy is reduced; the NOTT also reported a reduction of about 10% in the levels of pulmonary vascular resistances in patients treated with long-term oxygen therapy, while an increase of about 7% has been observed in patients treated with oxygen therapy only during the night. Nevertheless, the reduction of mortality observed during long-term oxygen therapy not always is accompanied by an haemodynamic improvement; in particular a reduction in the pulmonary arterial pressure seems not to reduce mortality. In conclusion long term oxygen therapy may slow the progression of pulmonary hypertension during chronic obstructive lung disease while the improvement in pulmonary haemodynamic due to oxygen therapy is not strictly correlated with a reduction of mortality.
|Translated title of the contribution||Long term oxygen therapy and pulmonary hypertension in chronic obstructive lung diseases|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Recenti Progressi in Medicina|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 1996|
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