Posts Tagged ‘heart lung transplantation’

Management of  severe  pulmonary hypertension continues to be a difficult task .Medical therapy is not definitive, in-spite of the new prostocyclins, endothelin antagonists and  sildenafil analogues.Natural history  depends mainly on  the presence of  any treatable cause ( Especially ,connective tissue disorders)  ,  supportive management along with anticoagulation.

Ultimate  strategy  would involve a   plan  for a “Lung “or  “Heart -Lung”transplantation  , if feasible. Last decade saw an innovative modality of creating an  artificial inter atrial  shunt to decompress the right heart .This had varied response in the  real world  , still  most  showed some benefit .In fact , in 1998 the world symposium on PHT ,  formulated guidelines for BAS (Balloon atrial septostomy)

Principle of  Balloon atrial septostomy (BAS)  and mechanism of benefit

The symptomatology  of  pulmonary HT  is largely  determined by mean RA pressure .

Puncturing  the  IAS and diverting blood  flow into left atrium would decompress the RA ( or even the RV )  and reduce the Mean RAP.

The resultant  right to left to shunt  can   increase the cardiac output  only  slightly ,  still  good enough to  provide   relief from the fatigue.(Though at the cost of  desaturation.)

What is the risk involved in the BAS.

Procedural risk of  a cath study in a sick  patient with hypertensive lungs (Can be really high !)

In some patients  even a small  fall in systemic  oxygen saturation can be counter productive.

What is the balloon used ?

Mansfield or Tyshak balloons are good choices .

Balloon diameters are between 5 -14 mm


Involves standard Brockenborough needle /Mullin sheath /Guide wire in pulmonary vein.

Atrial anatomy to  be well  analysed prior to BAS  . (Please note even though it is similar to PTMC , anatomically we encounter a large right atrium rather than left atrium .)

Fluroscopy with  TEE guide optimal

Pulmonary angiogram might help.

Intra-cardiac  Echo may be  ideal.

Blade septostomy may be preferred if hardware is available

The endpoint of procedure

  • Size of ASD > 5mm
  • Fall of arterial saturation < 80 %
  • Sustained atrial fibrillation with hypotension
  • Any  disabling complication

Hemodynamic impact

  • Cardiac output increase by 750 ml to 1 liter
  • It is expected ,  RA  mean pressure  would fall at least 5mmhg from  the baseline value.
  • PA pressure , no significant impact expected.
  • Tricuspid regurgitation regresses.
  • RA,RV size marginal reduction observed.

Follow up and outcome

  1. Greatest  relief is from syncope.
  2. Functional class improvement  in >50% .
  3. One year survival benefit is substantial (75-90%)  .Beats the  natural history (40%) convincingly.
  4. Late deterioration  can occur as ASD gets closed in few.

When  BAS is contraindicated ?

  1. Critical RV failure
  2. Patient in class 4
  3. Mean RA pressure > 20mmhg
  4. Pulmonary vascular resistance index> 55 Wood units / sq.meter

* BAV should not be considered as a  live saving  procedure  in any dying patient with PAH.  It needs to be  selected early and carefully .In fact,  the very high procedural complication  rate is related to late selection of patients.

Natural foramen  PFO better than BAV ?

We do not know yet.It is highly possible  natural opening up of PFO is good thing to happen for patients with severe pulmonary hypertension.


1 . SS Kothari  et all  Indian heart journal 2002

2. http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/reprint/32/2/297.pdf

3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC484602/pdf/heart00028-0066.pdf

  4. http://erj.ersjournals.com/content/early/2011/02/24/09031936.00072210.abstract

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