Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Pulmonary Complications of Sickle Cell Disease

Do SCD patients with hemodynamics consistent with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) respond to medications designed to treat PAH?

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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

What is known about this topic:

1) Case series have demonstrated potential therapeutic benefits for endothelin receptor antagonists, phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors and prostacyclins in PH of SCD patients

2) Three attempted randomized placebo controlled trials of these agents in SCD patients have not gone to completion and, as a result, were under-powered to demonstrate efficacy.

3) Sildenafil produced an increase in hospitalization for pain crises in this population.

4) Anecdotally, select SCD patients with PAH have hemodynamic and clinical benefits from PAH medications.

5) Approximately ½ of PH in SCD patients have some degree of pulmonary venous hypertension and these medications may not be helpful here.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Areas of controversy:

1) Only one of the three randomized controlled trials required a PAH diagnosis prior to randomization, so the actual question hasn’t been properly addressed.

2) SCD patients with PAH are different than idiopathic PAH patients in terms of their underlying disease, so possibly the treatment response is different.

3) What are the right clinical trial endpoints for this population?

4) What is the role of SCD specific therapy (hydroxyurea, transfusions) in treating PAH of SCD?

5) How can investigators design a clinical trial which allows for enough patient accrual to achieve its endpoints?

6) What novel therapies can be developed to treat this population?

7) What unrecognized medication toxicities are SCD patients at increased risk for?

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : ATS Member

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Idea No. 1553