The WSPHA on The Lancet Respiratory Medicine – A discussion of the article with professor Marc Humbert

Professor Humbert, on April 2019 you published on the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal a summary of the proceedings of the 6th World Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension. Would you please comment about the content of the article?

In the Lancet Respiratory Medicine, we recently published with professor Galié, professor McLaughlin, professor Rubin and professor Simonneau an insider view on the World Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension, and this insider view was in fact our, let’s say, best take-home messages from the 6th World Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension, which took place in 2018 in Nice.

Could you tell us what were the highlights of the World Symposium you wanted to emphasize in the article?

So, in this summary article we just emphasized and highlighted a few take-home messages. We considered first that the World Symposium is a very good initiative and that it is very important to regularly update our knowledge and confront our ideas and this is very important. The first thing we really wanted to highlight was a new definition, a new cutoff value of 20 millimeters of mercury, which is very important. We really made it clear that it doesn’t define a disease, that to define a pulmonary vascular disease you need to add pulmonary vascular resistance on top of pulmonary pressure, but nevertheless it is a very scientific and rigorous new definition of Pulmonary Hypertension. The second thing we wanted to highlight is the management of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. So, management is improving very fast and these improvements are based on the use of targeted therapies which target three pathways and, in fact, in the last five years there were not new treatments identified, but we made a very good improvement by identifying how to combine drugs together and how to decide to combine drugs on the basis of risk stratification, and I think this was another highlight of the 6th World Symposium. And finally, it was very important to highlight the fact that chronic thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH) has been revolutionized in the last five years with new treatments, not only surgery but also angioplasty and also medical therapy, and we made it very clear that in CTEPH we are more and more ambitious and we want to normalize pressure to have very good long-term outcomes.

The end of the paper is dedicated to patients and patient associations. How important was their participation in the World Symposium?

At the very end of our paper in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, we emphasized also the fact that patients were key in the World Symposium and that we are here to work with patients, to partner with patients, and it was very important in the Proceedings of the World Symposium to have a chapter dedicated to patient opinion in the field of Pulmonary Hypertension. So, this was a very interesting exercise and we were very proud to be invited to summarize our World Symposium in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine.