Right ventricular failure (RVF) is the main determinant of mortality in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Although the exact pathophysiology underlying RVF remains unclear, inflammation may play an important role, as it does in left heart failure. Perivascular pulmonary artery and systemic inflammation is relatively well studied and known to contribute to the initiation and maintenance of the pulmonary vascular insult in PAH. However, less attention has been paid to the role of cardiac inflammation in RVF and PAH. Consistent with many other types of heart failure, cardiac inflammation, triggered by systemic and local stressors, has been shown in RVF patients as well as in RVF animal models. RV inflammation likely contributes to impaired RV contractility, maladaptive remodelling and a vicious circle between RV and pulmonary vascular injury. Although the potential to improve RV function through anti-inflammatory therapy has not been tested, this approach has been applied clinically in left ventricular failure patients, with variable success. Because inflammation plays a dual role in the development of both pulmonary vascular pathology and RVF, anti-inflammatory therapies may have a potential double benefit in patients with PAH and associated RVF.
- Pulmonary arterial hypertension
- Right ventricular failure