Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is an incurable condition inevitably resulting in death because of increased right heart workload and eventual failure. PH causes pulmonary vascular remodeling, including muscularization of the arteries, and a reduction in the typically large vascular compliance of the pulmonary circulation. We used a rat model of monocrotaline (MCT) induced PH to evaluated and compared Captopril (an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor with antioxidant capacity) and N-acetylcysteine (NAC, a mucolytic with a large antioxidant capacity) as possible treatments. Twenty-eight days after MCT injection, the rats were sacrificed and heart, blood, and lungs were studied to measure indices such as right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH), hematocrit, pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR), vessel morphology and biomechanics. We implemented microfocal X-ray computed tomography to image the pulmonary arterial tree at intravascular pressures of 30, 21, 12, and 6 mmHg and then used automated vessel detection and measurement algorithms to perform morphological analysis and estimate the distensibility of the arterial tree. The vessel detection and measurement algorithms quickly and effectively mapped and measured the vascular trees at each intravascular pressure. Monocrotaline treatment, and the ensuing PH, resulted in a significantly decreased arterial distensibility, increased PVR, and tended to decrease the length of the main pulmonary trunk. In rats with PH induced by monocrotaline, Captopril treatment significantly increased arterial distensibility and decrease PVR. NAC treatment did not result in an improvement, it did not significantly increase distensibility and resulted in further increase in PVR. Interestingly, NAC tended to increase peripheral vascular density. The results suggest that arterial distensibility may be more important than distal collateral pathways in maintaining PVR at normally low values.
Pulmonary hypertension is a common cause of death among patients with sickle cell disease. This study investigates the use of pulmonary vein analysis to assist the diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension non-invasively with CT-Angiography images. The characterization of the pulmonary veins from CT presents two main challenges. Firstly, the number of pulmonary veins is unknown a priori and secondly, the contrast material is degraded when reaching the pulmonary veins, making the edges of these vessels to appear faint. Each image is first denoised and a fast marching approach is used to segment the left atrium and pulmonary veins. Afterward, a geodesic active contour is employed to isolate the left atrium. A thinning technique is then used to extract the skeleton of the atrium and the veins. The locations of the pulmonary veins ostia are determined by the intersection of the skeleton and the contour of the atrium. The diameters of the pulmonary veins are measured in each vein at fixed distances from the corresponding ostium, and for each distance, the sum of the diameters of all the veins is computed. These indicators are shown to be significantly larger in sickle-cell patients with pulmonary hypertension as compared to controls (p-values < 0.01).
Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a known complication associated with sickle-cell disease; roughly 75% of sickle cell disease-afflicted patients have pulmonary arterial hypertension at the time of death. This prospective study investigates the potential of image analysis to act as a surrogate for presence and extent of disease, and whether the size change of the pulmonary arteries of sickle cell patients could be linked to sickle-cell associated pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary CT-Angiography scans from sickle-cell patients were obtained and retrospectively analyzed. Randomly selected pulmonary CT-Angiography studies from patients without sickle-cell anemia were used as negative controls. First, images were smoothed using anisotropic diffusion. Then, a combination of fast marching and geodesic active contours level sets were employed to segment the pulmonary artery. An algorithm based on fast marching methods was used to compute the centerline of the segmented arteries. From the centerline, the diameters at the pulmonary trunk and first branch of the pulmonary arteries were measured automatically. Arterial diameters were normalized to the width of the thoracic cavity, patient weight and body surface. Results show that the pulmonary trunk and first right and left pulmonary arterial branches at the pulmonary trunk junction are significantly larger in diameter with increased blood flow in sickle-cell anemia patients as compared to controls (p values of 0.0278 for trunk and 0.0007 for branches). CT with image processing shows great potential as a surrogate indicator of pulmonary hemodynamics or response to therapy, which could be an important tool for drug discovery and noninvasive clinical surveillance.
Conduit pulmonary artery (PA) stiffening is characteristic of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and is an excellent predictor of mortality due to right ventricular (RV) overload. To better understand the impact of conduit PA stiffening on RV afterload, it is critical to examine the arterial viscoelastic properties, which require measurements of elasticity (energy storage behavior) and viscosity (energy dissipation behavior). Here we hypothesize that PAH leads to frequency-dependent changes in arterial stiffness (related to elasticity) and damping ratio (related to viscosity) in large PAs. To test our hypothesis, PAH was induced by the combination of chronic hypoxia and an antiangiogenic compound (SU5416) treatment in mice. Static and sinusoidal pressure-inflation tests were performed on isolated conduit PAs at various frequencies (0.01-20 Hz) to obtain the mechanical properties in the absence of smooth muscle contraction. Static mechanical tests showed significant stiffening of large PAs with PAH, as expected. In dynamic mechanical tests, structural stiffness (kappa) increased and damping ratio (D) decreased at a physiologically relevant frequency (10 Hz) in hypertensive PAs. The dynamic elastic modulus (E), a material stiffness, did not increase significantly with PAH. All dynamic mechanical properties were strong functions of frequency. In particular, kappa, E and D increased with increasing frequency in control PAs. While this behavior remained for D in hypertensive PAs, it reversed for kappa and E. Since these novel dynamic mechanical property changes were found in the absence of changes in smooth muscle cell content or contraction, changes in collagen and proteoglycans and their interactions are likely critical to arterial viscoelasticity in a way that has not been previously described. The impact of these changes in PA viscoelasticity on RV afterload in PAH awaits further investigation.
Abstract Pulmonary hypertension(PH) is a disorder characterised by increased mean pulmonary arterial pressure. Currently, the diagnosis of PH relies upon measurements taken during invasive right heart catheterisation (RHC). This paper describes a process to derive diagnostic parameters using only non-invasive methods based upon MRI imaging alone. Simultaneous measurements of main pulmonary artery (MPA) anatomy and flow are interpreted by 0D and 1D mathematical models, in order to infer the physiological status of the pulmonary circulation. Results are reported for 35 subjects, 27 of whom were patients clinically investigated for PH and eight of whom were healthy volunteers. The patients were divided into 3 sub-groups according to the severity of the disease state, one of which represented a negative diagnosis (NoPH), depending on the results of the clinical investigation, which included RHC and complementary MR imaging. Diagnostic indices are derived from two independent mathematical models, one based on the 1D wave equation and one based on an RCR Windkessel model. Using the first model it is shown that there is an increase in the ratio of the power in the reflected wave to that in the incident wave ( Wpb / Wptotal ) according to the classification of the disease state. Similarly, the second model shows an increase in the distal resistance with the disease status. The results of this pilot study demonstrate that there are statistically significant differences in the parameters derived from the proposed models depending on disease status, and thus suggest the potential for development of a non-invasive, image-based diagnostic test for pulmonary hypertension.
Recently, long noncoding RNAs(lncRNAs) have been proved to be playing crucial roles in various biological processes, yet their role in hypoxic pulmonary hypertension (HPH) remains unclear. The aim of the present study is to investigate the lncRNA expression signatures in HPH rat model. Sprague Dawley rats were put in normobaric hypoxic chamber (FIO 10%) eight hours a day or similar normoxic chamber for 3 weeks. Microarray was used to analyze the differential expression of lncRNAs and mRNAs between lung tissues of HPH rat model and control group. Dysregulated expression of selected lncRNAs was confirmed by Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) A total of 362 lncRNAs were identified to be significantly differentially expressed, among which 86 were up-regulated and 276 were down-regulated with fold-changes >/=2.0 between the two groups. The qRT-PCR results of lung tissues were in consistent with the microarray data. The expression profile of lncRNAs was significantly altered in HPH rat model which may offer new insights into pathogenesis of this disease and could potentially provide novel diagnostic markers.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is characterized by elevated pulmonary arterial pressure. Echocardiography, or cardiac ultrasound, is a helpful imaging tool to screen for PH. However, expert interpretation is required for successful screening. Development of a more automated method for diagnosis of PH would be useful to minimize error, thereby improving patient health. This task is challenging and the literature pertaining to the problem is still nascent. In this paper, we propose a computer aided diagnosis (CAD) tool, using ultrasound images, to expedite the screening of PH. Textural components play a significant role in ultrasound imaging for the efficient identification of PH. The extraction of such features is accomplished by computing several entropy measurements over a globally weighted local binary pattern (LBP). Thereafter, the blend of ranked maximum and fuzzy entropy features are input to a support vector machine, resulting in a maximum accuracy of approximately 92%. A comparison with variants indicates improved performance of the proposed globally weighted LBP.
Abstract Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a debilitating vascular disease that leads to pulmonary artery (PA) stiffening, which is a predictor of patient mortality. During PH development, PA stiffening adversely affects right ventricular function. PA stiffening has been investigated through the arterial nonlinear elastic response during mechanical testing using a canine PH model. However, only circumferential properties were reported and in the absence of chronic PH-induced PA remodeling. Remodeling can alter arterial nonlinear elastic properties via chronic changes in extracellular matrix (ECM) content and geometry. Here, we used an established constitutive model to demonstrate and differentiate between strain-stiffening, which is due to nonlinear elasticity, and remodeling-induced stiffening, which is due to ECM and geometric changes, in a canine model of chronic thromboembolic PH (CTEPH). To do this, circumferential and axial tissue strips of large extralobar PAs from control and CTEPH tissues were tested in uniaxial tension, and data were fit to a phenomenological constitutive model. Strain-induced stiffening was evident from mechanical testing as nonlinear elasticity in both directions and computationally by a high correlation coefficient between the mechanical data and model (R2 =0.89). Remodeling-induced stiffening was evident from a significant increase in the constitutive model stress parameter, which correlated with increased PA collagen content and decreased PA elastin content as measured histologically. The ability to differentiate between strain- and remodeling-induced stiffening in vivo may lead to tailored clinical treatments for PA stiffening in PH patients.
This study uses a one-dimensional fluid dynamics arterial network model to infer changes in hemodynamic quantities associated with pulmonary hypertension in mice. Data for this study include blood flow and pressure measurements from the main pulmonary artery for 7 control mice with normal pulmonary function and 5 mice with hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. Arterial dimensions for a 21-vessel network are extracted from micro-CT images of lungs from a representative control and hypertensive mouse. Each vessel is represented by its length and radius. Fluid dynamic computations are done assuming that the flow is Newtonian, viscous, laminar, and has no swirl. The system of equations is closed by a constitutive equation relating pressure and area, using a linear model derived from stress–strain deformation in the circumferential direction assuming that the arterial walls are thin, and also an empirical nonlinear model. For each dataset, an inflow waveform is extracted from the data, and nominal parameters specifying the outflow boundary conditions are computed from mean values and characteristic timescales extracted from the data. The model is calibrated for each mouse by estimating parameters that minimize the least squares error between measured and computed waveforms. Optimized parameters are compared across the control and the hypertensive groups to characterize vascular remodeling with disease. Results show that pulmonary hypertension is associated with stiffer and less compliant proximal and distal vasculature with augmented wave reflections, and that elastic nonlinearities are insignificant in the hypertensive animal.
As a left ventricular assist device is designed to pump against the systemic vascular resistance (SVR), pulmonary congestion may occur when using such device for right ventricular support. The present study evaluates the efficacy of using a fixed right outflow banding in patients receiving biventricular assist device support under various circulatory conditions, including variations in the SVR, pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR), total blood volume (BV), as well as ventricular contractility. Effect of speed variation on the hemodynamics was also evaluated at varying degrees of PVR. Pulmonary congestion was observed at high SVR and BV. A reduction in right ventricular assist device (RVAD) speed was required to restore pulmonary pressures. Meanwhile, at a high PVR, the risk of ventricular suction was prevalent during systemic hypotension due to low SVR and BV. This could be compensated by increasing RVAD speed. Isolated right heart recovery may aggravate pulmonary congestion, as the failing left ventricle cannot accommodate the resultant increase in the right-sided flow. Compared to partial assistance, the sensitivity of the hemodynamics to changes in VAD speed increased during full assistance. In conclusion, our results demonstrated that the introduction of a banding graft with a 5 mm diameter guaranteed sufficient reserve of the pump speed spectrum for the regulation of acceptable hemodynamics over different clinical scenarios, except under critical conditions where drug administration or volume management is required.