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Hemodynamic Effects of Ketone Bodies in Patients With Pulmonary Hypertension

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Background Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) or chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) are debilitating diseases with a high mortality. Despite emerging treatments, pulmonary vascular resistance frequently remains elevated. However, the ketone body 3-hydroxybutyrate (3-OHB) may reduce pulmonary vascular resistance in these patients. Hence, the aim was to assess the hemodynamic effects of 3-OHB in patients with PAH or CTEPH. Methods and Results We enrolled patients with PAH (n=10) or CTEPH (n=10) and residual pulmonary hypertension. They received 3-OHB infusion and placebo (saline) for 2 hours in a randomized crossover study. Invasive hemodynamic and echocardiography measurements were performed. Furthermore, we investigated the effects of 3-OHB on the right ventricle of isolated hearts and isolated pulmonary arteries from Sprague-Dawley rats. Ketone body infusion increased circulating 3-OHB levels from 0.5±0.5 to 3.4±0.7 mmol/L (P<0.001). Cardiac output improved by 1.2±0.1 L/min (27±3%, P<0.001), and right ventricular annular systolic velocity increased by 1.4±0.4 cm/s (13±4%, P=0.002). Pulmonary vascular resistance decreased by 1.3±0.3 Wood units (18%±4%, P<0.001) with no significant difference in response between patients with PAH and CTEPH. In the rat studies, 3-OHB administration was associated with decreased pulmonary arterial tension compared with saline administration (maximal relative tension difference: 12±2%, P<0.001) and had no effect on right ventricular systolic pressures (P=0.63), whereas pressures rose at a slower pace (dP/dtmax, P=0.02). Conclusions In patients with PAH or CTEPH, ketone body infusion improves cardiac output and decreases pulmonary vascular resistance. Experimental rat studies support that ketone bodies relax pulmonary arteries. Long-term studies are warranted to assess the clinical role of hyperketonemia. Registration URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT04615754.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere028232
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors.

    Research areas

  • echocardiography, invasive hemodynamics, ketone bodies, pulmonary arterial hypertension

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