Pathophysiological effects of the disease and the drugs used to treat PAH can adversely affect the musculoskeletal system. For one study, researchers sought to determine the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain and its impact on quality of life (QoL) and exercise capacity in patients with PAH. The Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) was used to assess the presence of musculoskeletal pain, the EmPHasis-10 and the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (MLHFQ) for QoL, the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) for functional physical capacity and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire – Short Form (IPAQ-SF) for participation in physical activity in 61 patients with PAH.
77% of PAH patients suffered from musculoskeletal pain. Pain was most common in the lower back (38%), knees (36%), shoulders (36%) and neck (33%). The presence of pain in different body regions was associated with hemodynamic clues to the severity of PAH. Patients who received a PAH-specific drug were more likely to feel unwell than patients who had not yet started pharmacological therapy (RR = 1.6-2.0). Neck, shoulder, low back, and knee pain were significantly associated with poorer QoL scores in both EmPHasis-10 and MLHFQ (PPMusculoskeletal disorders are a common complaint in patients with PAH and negatively impact quality of life and exercise capacity. Treatment techniques should include a more comprehensive assessment of these patients’ musculoskeletal pain symptoms and appropriate management of the existing pain, which may contribute to better management of PAH.