An official American Thoracic Society clinical practice guideline: diagnosis, risk stratification, and management of pulmonary hypertension of sickle cell disease.


Journal Article

In adults with sickle cell disease (SCD), an increased tricuspid regurgitant velocity (TRV) measured by Doppler echocardiography, an increased serum N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-pro-BNP) level, and pulmonary hypertension (PH) diagnosed by right heart catheterization (RHC) are independent risk factors for mortality.A multidisciplinary committee was formed by clinician-investigators experienced in the management of patients with PH and/or SCD. Clinically important questions were posed, related evidence was appraised, and questions were answered with evidence-based recommendations. Target audiences include all clinicians who take care of patients with SCD.Mortality risk stratification guides decision making. An increased risk for mortality is defined as a TRV equal to or greater than 2.5 m/second, an NT-pro-BNP level equal to or greater than 160 pg/ml, or RHC-confirmed PH. For patients identified as having increased mortality risk, we make a strong recommendation for hydroxyurea as first-line therapy and a weak recommendation for chronic transfusions as an alternative therapy. For all patients with SCD with elevated TRV alone or elevated NT-pro-BNP alone, and for patients with SCD with RHC-confirmed PH with elevated pulmonary artery wedge pressure and low pulmonary vascular resistance, we make a strong recommendation against PAH-specific therapy. However, for select patients with SCD with RHC-confirmed PH who have elevated pulmonary vascular resistance and normal pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, we make a weak recommendation for either prostacyclin agonist or endothelin receptor antagonist therapy and a strong recommendation against phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor therapy.Evidence-based recommendations for the management of patients with SCD with increased mortality risk are provided, but will require frequent reassessment and updating.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Klings, ES; Machado, RF; Barst, RJ; Morris, CR; Mubarak, KK; Gordeuk, VR; Kato, GJ; Ataga, KI; Gibbs, JS; Castro, O; Rosenzweig, EB; Sood, N; Hsu, L; Wilson, KC; Telen, MJ; Decastro, LM; Krishnamurti, L; Steinberg, MH; Badesch, DB; Gladwin, MT; American Thoracic Society Ad Hoc Committee on Pulmonary Hypertension of Sickle Cell Disease,

Published Date

  • March 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 189 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 727 - 740

PubMed ID

  • 24628312

Pubmed Central ID

  • 24628312

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1535-4970

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1073-449X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1164/rccm.201401-0065ST


  • eng