As a part of a larger study, researchers at Cornell and Pennsylvania Universities confirmed that horses with recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) are at increased risk of developing pulmonary hypertension. They are currently perfecting a model using pulmonary artery measurements to predict moderate to severe pulmonary hypertension in horses with RAO.

"Significant pulmonary hypertension is known to occur secondary to recurrent airway obstruction in horses," researchers said. "How this relates to disease severity or long-term prognosis is not known. In part, this may be due to the difficulty and/or invasive nature of monitoring pulmonary artery pressures (PAP) in a routine clinical setting."

JoAnn Slack, DVM, MS, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said a model to predict pulmonary hypertension could be useful in treating horses with RAO, even though it usually resolves when the causative disease is cured.

"Perhaps if we could undertake the specific treatment of pulmonary hypertension, we could improve the outcome or at least improve the comfort level of these horses," Slack said. "If we can diagnose the pulmonary hypertension, we may be able to evaluation what contribute pulmonary hypertension has to treatment failures."

Slack and her colleagues used Doppler echocardiogram to measure the horse's pulmonary artery. Using these measurements, the researchers created a model to predict pulmonary hypertension with a sensitivity of 89% and a specificity of 100%.

"This study confirmed that horses with RAO may develop pulmonary hypertension," Slack said. "In addition, echocardiographic dimensions were related to PAP, and may be a useful means of monitoring disease progression or treatment."

About the Author

Chad Mendell

Chad Mendell is the former Managing Editor for .

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