Age-associated increases in pulmonary artery systolic pressure in the general population

Carolyn S.P. Lam, Barry A. Borlaug, Garvan C. Kane, Felicity T. Enders, Richard J. Rodeheffer, Margaret M. Redfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

293 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND-: In contrast to the wealth of data on isolated systolic hypertension involving the systemic circulation in the elderly, much less is known about age-related change in pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) and its prognostic impact in the general population. We sought to define the relationship between PASP and age, to evaluate which factors influence PASP, and to determine whether PASP is independently predictive of mortality in the community. METHODS AND RESULTS-: A random sample of the Olmsted County, Minn, general population (n=2042) underwent echocardiography and spirometry and was followed up for a median of 9 years. PASP was measured from the tricuspid regurgitation velocity. Left ventricular diastolic pressure was estimated with Doppler echocardiography (E/e′ ratio), and arterial stiffening was assessed from the brachial artery pulse pressure. Among 1413 subjects (69%) with measurable PASP (age, 63±11 years; 43% male), median PASP was 26 mm Hg (25th to 75th percentile, 24 to 30 mm Hg) and increased with age (r=0.31, P<0.001). Independent predictors of PASP were age, pulse pressure, and mitral E/e′ (all P≤0.003). Increasing PASP was associated with higher mortality (hazard ratio, 2.73 per 10 mm Hg; P<0.001). In subjects without cardiopulmonary disease (any heart failure, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, or chronic obstructive lung disease), the age-adjusted hazard ratio was 2.74 per 10 mm Hg (P=0.016). CONCLUSIONS-: We provide the first population-based evidence of age-related increase in pulmonary artery pressure, its association with increasing left heart diastolic pressures and systemic vascular stiffening, and its negative impact on survival. Pulmonary artery pressure may serve as a novel cardiovascular risk factor and potential therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2663-2670
Number of pages8
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 26 2009


  • Aging
  • Hypertension, pulmonary
  • Population
  • Vasculature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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