Balloon atrial septostomy in pulmonary arterial hypertension: Effect on survival and associated outcomes

Joanne S. Chiu, Warren A. Zuckerman, Mariel E. Turner, Marc E. Richmond, Diane Kerstein, Usha Krishnan, Alejandro Torres, Julie A. Vincent, Erika B. Rosenzweig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive disease that, without early identification and treatment, may lead to right heart failure, multi-organ dysfunction and early death. In severe PAH, in addition to maximal medical therapy, balloon atrial septostomy (BAS) may be used for palliation and as a bridge to lung transplantation. We present our contemporary institutional experience utilizing BAS in adult and pediatric patients with severe PAH. Methods We performed a retrospective analysis of 46 BASs performed in 32 patients with PAH from 2002 to 2013. Data obtained included vital status, functional class, medications, hemodynamic measurements from right heart catheterizations and biomarkers. Lung transplantation-free and repeat-BAS-free survival was analyzed. Results Median age at BAS was 23 (range 1 to 56) years. The most common indications were symptomatic right heart failure (21 of 46 patients) and pre-syncope/syncope (19 of 46 patients); 69% of patients were WHO Functional Class III or IV pre-BAS. There were no procedural complications or deaths. There were no significant differences in biomarkers or hemodynamic findings between pre-BAS and 1 year or latest follow-up. Seven patients were successfully bridged to lung transplantation. Lung transplantation-free and repeat-BAS-free survival at 30 days, 1 year and 5 years was 87%, 61% and 32%, respectively. Conclusions In our experienced center, BAS was shown to be safe in patients with severe PAH on maximal medical management, with no procedural deaths or complications. BAS was safely used as a bridge to lung transplantation or to alleviate right heart failure symptoms and/or syncope. Other potential benefits for end-organ function and overall survival remain to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-380
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • balloon atrial septostomy
  • pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • right heart failure
  • survival
  • syncope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation


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