All Publications

  • Hispanic Ethnicity and Social Determinants of Health in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: The Pulmonary Hypertension Association Registry. Annals of the American Thoracic Society Bernardo, R. J., Lu, D., Ramirez, R. L., Hedlin, H., Kawut, S. M., Bull, T., De Marco, T., Ford, H. J., Grinnan, D., Klinger, J. R., McConnell, J. W., Berman-Rosenzweig, E., Shlobin, O. A., Zamanian, R. T., de Jesus Perez, V. A. 2022


    Rationale There is a noticeable underrepresentation of minorities in clinical trials and registries in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Prior studies evaluating the association between Hispanic ethnicity and clinical outcomes in patients with PAH have not assessed the socioeconomic profile of Hispanic individuals or the significance of social determinants of health in clinical outcomes. Objective To determine the association between Hispanic ethnicity, social determinants of health, and clinical outcomes in PAH. Methods Prospective cohort study of adult participants with PAH enrolled in the Pulmonary Hypertension Association Registry, a multicenter US-based registry of patients treated at Pulmonary Hypertension Care Centers. Participants were classified as Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites, based on self-reported ethnicity. A comparison of baseline clinical and sociodemographic characteristics between groups was performed as well using absolute standardized differences (ASD). The primary outcome of the study was to assess transplant-free survival between Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites. A Cox proportional hazards model was used for the multivariable analysis after adjusting for age, sex, PAH etiology, annual income, education level and health insurance. Results A total of 683 individuals were included, 98 (14.3%) of Hispanic ethnicity. Hispanic patients had impaired access to health care (31.6% vs. 12.9% Medicaid/uninsured; ASD 0.35), lower education level (72.6% vs. 94.0% high school graduates or higher; ASD 0.60) and lower annual income (32.0% vs. 17.4% with income <20,000 US dollars; ASD 0.47), as compared with non-Hispanic Whites. Hispanic patients had a higher frequency of ER visits and a higher number of hospitalizations, despite having similar disease severity (incidence rate ratio 1.452, 95% CI 1.326 - 1.590 and 1.428, 95% CI 1.292 - 1.577, respectively). While the unadjusted analysis showed a lower transplant/death hazard ratio for Hispanics (HR 0.47, 95% CI 0.24-0.94; p=0.032), there was no association between Hispanic ethnicity and outcome in the multivariable model after adjusting for social determinants of health and other covariates (HR 0.76, 95% CI 0.35-1.62; p=0.474). Conclusions Hispanic ethnicity was not associated with differences in survival after adjusting for social determinants of health and other factors. Social determinants of health are important to consider when assessing the association between ethnicity and outcomes in PAH.

    View details for DOI 10.1513/AnnalsATS.202109-1051OC

    View details for PubMedID 35239467

  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Secondary to Drugs and Toxins. Clinics in chest medicine Ramirez, R. L., Pienkos, S. M., de Jesus Perez, V., Zamanian, R. T. 2021; 42 (1): 19–38


    Pulmonary arterial hypertension secondary to drugs and toxins is an important subgroup of group 1 pulmonary hypertension associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Many drugs and toxins have emerged as risk factors for pulmonary arterial hypertension, which include anorexigens, illicit agents, and several US Food and Drug Administration-approved therapeutic medications. Drugs and toxins are classified as possible or definite risk factors for pulmonary arterial hypertension. This article reviews agents that have been implicated in the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension, their pathologic mechanisms, and methods to prevent the next deadly outbreak of drug- and toxin-induced pulmonary arterial hypertension.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ccm.2020.11.008

    View details for PubMedID 33541612

  • Methamphetamine and the risk of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Current opinion in pulmonary medicine Ramirez, R. L., Perez, V. D., Zamanian, R. T. 2018


    Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug originally developed for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. At present, the epidemic rise of illicit methamphetamine use has increased the number of patients living with medical complications. Our group has recently identified a definite association between methamphetamine use and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a life-threatening disease characterized by occlusive vasculopathy and progressive right heart failure. This review will discuss the evidence that links methamphetamine with PAH and how to approach the diagnosis and management of methamphetamine-associated pulmonary arterial hypertension (Meth-APAH) patients in clinic.Compared with idiopathic (I) PAH, Meth-APAH patients present with worse functional status, right ventricular dysfunction, and exercise tolerance. Despite therapy, the 5-year survival of Meth-APAH patients is significantly lower compared with IPAH. Genetic studies suggest that loss of function variants in genes involved in drug detoxification can increase susceptibility for methamphetamine-related vascular injury and trigger occlusive vasculopathy.PAH patients undergoing diagnostic evaluation should be screened for a history of current or past methamphetamine use. Pharmacovigilance should be implemented to monitor patients being treated with methamphetamine for neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). More studies will be needed to identify which susceptibility factors increase risk of PAH in methamphetamine users.

    View details for PubMedID 30036313

  • Stimulants and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: An Update. Advances in pulmonary hypertension Ramirez, R. L., De Jesus Perez, V. n., Zamanian, R. T. 2018; 17 (2): 49–54


    The connection between stimulants and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) was first made apparent in the 1960s during an outbreak associated with anorexigen (amphetamine-like appetite suppressants) use. Since then, a total of 16 drugs and toxins have been linked to PAH (ie, drug and toxin-associated PAH [DT-APAH]), including illicit stimulants like methamphetamine. Recently, basic science research and novel genomic studies have started to shed light on possible pathologic and genetic mechanisms implicated in disease development, namely loss of function variants in genes involved in drug detoxification. This review will discuss the history and current state of knowledge regarding stimulants and their association with PAH. It will also discuss clinical management of patients with DT-APAH. Lastly, it will highlight the importance of ongoing research efforts to identify susceptibility factors implicated in DT-APAH and the need for increased pharmacovigilance and awareness to identify new drugs that may be risk factors for PAH. Ultimately, this may be our best strategy to improve clinical outcomes and prevent deadly future outbreaks of DT-APAH.

    View details for DOI 10.21693/1933-088X-17.2.49

    View details for PubMedID 31656550

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6815676