The prevalence of pulmonary hypertension in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is unclear. The presence of an abnormally increased pulmonary blood pressure worsens the prognosis of COPD, but the patients are not currently diagnosed or treated for pulmonary hypertension. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of pulmonary hypertension in 200 patients with COPD and explore whether it worsens functional capacity and symptoms. Furthermore we will look into whether blood gas values, NT-proBNP, CRP and lung function test result can predict which patients are at risk of having pulmonary hypertension.
Methods: All patients will be screened by echocardiography. Those with signs of pulmonary hypertension will be admitted to right heart catheterization for direct measurements of pulmonary haemodynamics.
All patients will perform a 6 minutes walk test and spirometry. Blood levels of NT-proBNP and CRP will be measured. Life quality by the St. George Questionnaire and contacts to the health care system is also assessed. Differences in these parameters are analyzed among patients with no, moderate or severe pulmonary hypertension.