PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Right ventricular (RV) function is an important determinant of morbidity and mortality in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Although substantial progress has been made in understanding the development of RV failure in the last decennia, this has not yet resulted in the development of RV selective therapies. In this review, we will discuss the current status on the treatment of RV failure and potential novel therapeutic strategies that are currently being investigated in clinical trials.
RECENT FINDINGS: Increased afterload results in elevated wall tension. Consequences of increased wall tension include autonomic disbalance, metabolic shift and inflammation, negatively affecting RV contractility. Compromised RV systolic function and low cardiac output activate renin-angiotensin aldosterone system, which leads to fluid retention and further increase in RV wall tension. This vicious circle can be interrupted by directly targeting the determinants of RV wall tension; preload and afterload by PAH-medications and diuretics, but is also possibly by restoring neurohormonal and metabolic disbalance, and inhibiting maladaptive inflammation. A variety of RV selective drugs are currently being studied in clinical trials.
SUMMARY: Nowadays, afterload reduction is still the cornerstone in treatment of PAH. New treatments targeting important pathobiological determinants of RV failure directly are emerging.