Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) develops in 4% of patients after pulmonary embolism and is accompanied by an impaired exercise tolerance, which is ascribed to the increased right ventricular (RV) afterload in combination with a ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) mismatch in the lungs. The present study aimed to investigate changes in arterial PO2 and hemodynamics in response to graded treadmill exercise during development and progression of CTEPH in a novel swine model. Swine were chronically instrumented and received multiple pulmonary embolisms by 1) microsphere infusion (Spheres) over 5 wk, 2) endothelial dysfunction by administration of the endothelial nitric oxide synthase inhibitor Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) for 7 wk, 3) combined pulmonary embolisms and endothelial dysfunction (L-NAME + Spheres), or 4) served as sham-operated controls (sham). After a 9 wk followup, embolization combined with endothelial dysfunction resulted in CTEPH, as evidenced by mean pulmonary artery pressures of 39.5 ± 5.1 vs. 19.1 ± 1.5 mmHg (Spheres, P < 0.001), 22.7 ± 2.0 mmHg (L-NAME, P < 0.001), and 20.1 ± 1.5 mmHg (sham, P < 0.001), and a decrease in arterial PO2 that was exacerbated during exercise, indicating V/Q mismatch. RV dysfunction was present after 5 wk of embolization, both at rest (trend toward increased RV end-systolic lumen area, P = 0.085, and decreased stroke volume index, P = 0.042) and during exercise (decreased stroke volume index vs. control, P = 0.040). With sustained pulmonary hypertension, RV hypertrophy (Fulton index P = 0.022) improved RV function at rest and during exercise, but this improvement was insufficient in CTEPH swine to result in an exercise-induced increase in cardiac index. In conclusion, embolization in combination with endothelial dysfunction results in CTEPH in swine. Exercise increased RV afterload, exacerbated the V/Q mismatch, and unmasked RV dysfunction. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Here, we present the first double-hit chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension swine model. We show that embolization as well as endothelial dysfunction is required to induce sustained pulmonary hypertension, which is accompanied by altered exercise hemodynamics and an exacerbated ventilation/perfusion mismatch during exercise.

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American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Department of Cardiology

Hoogestijn-Stam, K., van Duin, R., Uitterdijk, A., Cai, Z., Duncker, D., & Merkus, D. (2018). Exercise facilitates early recognition of cardiac and vascular remodeling in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension in swine. American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 314(3), H627–H642. doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00380.2017