Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a disease characterized by an elevation in pulmonary artery pressure that can lead to right ventricular failure and death. Conventional treatment is based on non-specific drugs (warfarin, oxygen, diuretics). Pure vasodilators like calcium channel antagonists have little or no effect on the vast majority of patients. Although there is no cure for PAH, newer medical therapies have been shown to improve a variety of clinically relevant end-points including survival, functional class, exercise tolerance, haemodynamics, echocardiographic parameters and quality of life measures. Intravenous prostacyclin, was the first introduced drug for treatment of PAH and remains the first-line treatment for the most severe patients. Since then the list of approved drugs for PAH has expanded to include prostacyclin analogues with differing routes of administration, a dual endothelin receptor antagonist, and a phosphodiesterase- 5 inhibitor. Novel drugs have also shown promise in experimental trials and are likely to be added to the list of options. This article reviews the current treatments strategies for PAH.
Keywords: Pulmonary arterial hypertension, treatment, prostacyclin analogues, endothelin receptor antagonist, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor