Background: Although balloon pulmonary angioplasty (BPA) improves the hemodynamics and prognosis of patients with inoperable chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), the mechanisms of improvement in oxygenation remain to be elucidated. Methods and Results: From August 2013 to May 2015, we performed a total of 113 BPA procedures in 24 patients with inoperable CTEPH (mean 4.7 procedures per patient). Median age was 70 [60, 74] years and 18 were female (75%). We examined hemodynamics, respiratory functions, and intrapulmonary shunt before and after the BPA procedure. Mean pulmonary arterial pressure (37 [28, 45] to 23[19, 27] mmHg, P<0.01), pulmonary vascular resistance (517 [389, 696] to 268 [239, 345] dyne/s/cm5) and 6-min walk distance (390 [286, 484] to 490 [411, 617] m, P<0.01) were significantly improved after BPA therapy. Furthermore, arterial oxygen partial pressure (PaO2, 54.8 [50.0, 60.8] to 65.2 [60.6, 73.2] %, P<0.01) and intrapulmonary shunt (23.4±6.0% to 19.3±5.0%, P<0.01) were also significantly ameliorated. In the multivariate analysis, decrease in intrapulmonary shunt after BPA was significantly correlated with improvement of both PaO2 (r2=0.26, P<0.01) and SaO2 (r2=0.49, P<0.01) after BPA. Conclusions: These results indicated that BPA improved not only pulmonary hemodynamics but also oxygenation with a resultant decrease in intrapulmonary shunt.
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