Pulmonary hypertension and ventilation during exercise: Role of the pre-capillary component

Sergio Caravita, Andrea Faini, Gael Deboeck, Antoine Bondue, Robert Naeije, Gianfranco Parati, Jean Luc Vachiéry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Excessive exercise-induced hyperventilation and high prevalence of exercise oscillatory breathing (EOB) are present in patients with post-capillary pulmonary hypertension (PH) complicating left heart disease (LHD). Patients with pre-capillary PH have even higher hyperventilation but no EOB. We sought to determine the impact of a pre-capillary component of PH on ventilatory response to exercise in patients with PH and left heart disease. Methods We retrospectively compared patients with idiopathic or heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH, n = 29), isolated post-capillary PH (IpcPH, n = 29), and combined post- and pre-capillary PH (CpcPH, n = 12). Diastolic pressure gradient (DPG = diastolic pulmonary artery pressure − pulmonary wedge pressure) was used to distinguish IpcPH (DPG <7 mm Hg) from CpcPH (DPG ≥7 mm Hg). Results Pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) was higher in PAH, intermediate in CpcPH, and low in IpcPH. All patients with CpcPH but 1 had PVR >3 Wood unit. Exercise-induced hyperventilation (high minute ventilation over carbon dioxide production, low end-tidal carbon dioxide) was marked in PAH, intermediate in CpcPH, and low in IpcPH (p < 0.001) and correlated with DPG and PVR. Prevalence of EOB decreased from IpcPH to CpcPH to PAH (p < 0.001). Conclusions Patients with CpcPH may have worse hemodynamics than patients with IpcPH and distinct alterations of ventilatory control, consistent with more exercise-induced hyperventilation and less EOB. This might be explained at least in part by the presence and extent of pulmonary vascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)754-762
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2017


  • cardiopulmonary exercise test
  • diastolic pressure gradient
  • oscillatory breathing
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation


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