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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 929170, 16 pages
Review Article

Novel Therapeutic Strategies for Reducing Right Heart Failure Associated Mortality in Fibrotic Lung Diseases

1Section of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
2Department of Cardiology, Deborah Heart and Lung Center, Browns Mills, NJ 08015, USA
3Section of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA

Received 28 March 2015; Accepted 26 August 2015

Academic Editor: Massimo F. Piepoli

Copyright © 2015 Ayodeji Adegunsoye et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Fibrotic lung diseases carry a significant mortality burden worldwide. A large proportion of these deaths are due to right heart failure and pulmonary hypertension. Underlying contributory factors which appear to play a role in the mechanism of progression of right heart dysfunction include chronic hypoxia, defective calcium handling, hyperaldosteronism, pulmonary vascular alterations, cyclic strain of pressure and volume changes, elevation of circulating TGF-β, and elevated systemic NO levels. Specific therapies targeting pulmonary hypertension include calcium channel blockers, endothelin (ET-1) receptor antagonists, prostacyclin analogs, phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, and rho-kinase (ROCK) inhibitors. Newer antifibrotic and anti-inflammatory agents may exert beneficial effects on heart failure in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Furthermore, right ventricle-targeted therapies, aimed at mitigating the effects of functional right ventricular failure, include β-adrenoceptor (β-AR) blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, antioxidants, modulators of metabolism, and 5-hydroxytryptamine-2B (5-HT2B) receptor antagonists. Newer nonpharmacologic modalities for right ventricular support are increasingly being implemented. Early, effective, and individualized therapy may prevent overt right heart failure in fibrotic lung disease leading to improved outcomes and quality of life.