BACKGROUND: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a well-recognised complication of adult congenital heart disease (CHD). However, management is not currently standardised between centres and specific guidelines are lacking. In order to identify and understand the unmet needs related to PAH associated with CHD (PAH-CHD), a survey of physicians was performed.
METHODS: An electronic survey was sent to two physician groups: (1) cardiologists registered in a UK cardiology directory; (2) specialist pulmonary hypertension (PH) physicians known to manage patients with adult PAH-CHD. The questions related to referral pathways, screening, therapy and palliative care.
RESULTS: 821 surveys were distributed and 106 were returned. Respondents included a broad mix of specialist physicians with many patients along with general cardiologists managing only a small number of PAH-CHD patients. Although 97% of respondents have access to a specialist PH centre, patients are still being managed in non-specialist settings. Shared care arrangements are widespread but only 41% have formal shared care protocols. Palliative care services are limited and general cardiologists rarely perform 6-minute walk tests (6MWT) or quality of life assessments. People with PAH-CHD are often undertreated, with 39% of respondents reporting that fewer than 25% of these patients were receiving PAH-specific therapies.
CONCLUSIONS: The survey revealed gaps and inconsistencies in the management of patients with PAH-CHD therefore patient-specific guidance is needed for many of these aspects.
- Congenital heart disease
- Pulmonary arterial hypertension
- Unmet needs