Increasing quality of life in pulmonary arterial hypertension: is there a role for nutrition?

Paulien Vinke*, Suzanne M. Jansen, Renger F. Witkamp, Klaske van Norren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive disease primarily affecting the pulmonary vasculature and heart. PAH patients suffer from exercise intolerance and fatigue, negatively affecting their quality of life. This review summarizes current insights in the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying PAH. It zooms in on the potential involvement of nutritional status and micronutrient deficiencies on PAH exercise intolerance and fatigue, also summarizing the potential benefits of exercise and nutritional interventions. Pubmed/Medline, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched for publications on pathophysiological mechanisms of PAH negatively affecting physical activity potential and nutritional status, and for potential effects of interventions involving exercise or nutritional measures known to improve exercise intolerance. Pathophysiological processes that contribute to exercise intolerance and impaired quality of life of PAH patients include right ventricular dysfunction, inflammation, skeletal muscle alterations, and dysfunctional energy metabolism. PAH-related nutritional deficiencies and metabolic alterations have been linked to fatigue, exercise intolerance, and endothelial dysfunction. Available evidence suggests that exercise interventions can be effective in PAH patients to improve exercise tolerance and decrease fatigue. By contrast, knowledge on the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies and the possible effects of nutritional interventions in PAH patients is limited. Although data on nutritional status and micronutrient deficiencies in PAH are scarce, the available knowledge, including that from adjacent fields, suggests that nutritional intervention to correct deficiencies and metabolic alterations may contribute to a reduction of disease burden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711–722
JournalHeart Failure Reviews
Issue number5
Early online date16 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Deficiencies
  • Exercise
  • Lifestyle
  • Nutrition
  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • Review

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