The global burden of pulmonary hypertension

25th February 2021

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension has been identified as a major contributor to right heart failure by the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study is the most comprehensive epidemiological study of the changing health challenges facing people across the world. Led by The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), it offers a powerful resource and an important tool to inform clinicians, researchers, and policymakers worldwide.

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) was recognised as a cause alone of right heart failure within the GBD Study 2019. A systematic analysis of the global burden of 369 diseases, published in The Lancet (2020), cites PAH as a new cause added to the GBD modelling framework.

"In 2020, there were 1.92 million cases of right heart failure. 373,000 of which were contributed by Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension" Sophia Emmons-Bell, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

The forthcoming iteration of the Study will report the prevalence, incidence, and mortality rates of PAH, Recognition of the need for a more inclusive global NCD agenda provides the opportunity to expand its reach and impact significantly. This includes identifying all population-representative estimates of PAH; estimating and correcting systematic bias in data sources; and using statistical models to identify geographical trends, temporal trends, and relationships between PAH and covariates.

While causes of right heart failure were previously modelled in the GBD, PAH as a specific cause wasn't. This update represents a major step in the identification of PAH as a significant cause of right heart failure and a contributor to the global disease burden, increasing the evidence that there are close associations between major noncommunicable disease (NCDs) and a broader set of conditions, and many co-exist and share similar approaches and solutions.