Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is defined as a group of diseases characterized by a progressive increase in pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) leading to right ventricular failure and premature death. Untreated, it is a potentially devastating disease. However, the past decade has seen remarkable improvements in our understanding of the pathology associated with the condition and the development of multiple PAH-specific therapies with the ability to alter the natural history of the disease. These new advances provide a significant opportunity for practitioners to detect and treat patients with PAH in a timely and effective manner, thereby improving overall mortality, morbidity, and quality of life associated with this disease. The aim of this review is two-fold: firstly to review the evidence for efficacy and safety of non-parenteral PAH therapies and to discuss treatment selection based on clinically meaningful differences among the approved therapies, such as the potential for serious drug-drug interactions, convenience of dosing schedules, and rates of limiting side effects. Secondly, the central role of the PAH clinical nurse in the multidisciplinary care of patients with PAH will be discussed, together with issues relating to adherence and interventions to enhance patient compliance.
- Endothelin-receptor antagonists
- Phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors
- Prostacyclin analogues
- Pulmonary arterial hypertension