Continuous intravenous epoprostenol improves exercise capacity, haemodynamics, and survival in severe primary pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension can also be life-threatening in patients with connective tissue diseases. In a prospective open monocentre uncontrolled study, the effects of epoprostenol were evaluated in patients with severe pulmonary hypertension secondary to connective tissue diseases who were unresponsive to oral vasodilators (including calcium channel blockers) and continued to be in the New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class III or IV despite conventional medical therapy. Seventeen patients received epoprostenol administered by a portable infusion pump associated with conventional therapy (oral anticoagulants, diuretics, supplemental oxygen). During the first six weeks of therapy, two (12%) patients died, of pulmonary oedema (n = 1) and severe sepsis (n = 1). In the fifteen remaining subjects, clinical and haemodynamic parameters improved significantly at six weeks. These patients were subsequently monitored for 80+/-48 (range 14-154) weeks after initiation of epoprostenol. Five (33%) patients died, of right heart failure (n = 2), severe sepsis (n = 2) or syncope (n = 1) and two patients were successfully transplanted 24 and 52 weeks after initiation of epoprostenol. Seven of the remaining eight patients had a persistent clinical improvement. Short-term epoprostenol therapy is effective in some patients with connective tissue diseases as demonstrated by better clinical status and haemodynamics at six weeks. However, this study reports several cases of early and late major complications including severe sepsis and pulmonary oedema. Additional information is needed to evaluate the benefit: risk ratio of long-term epoprostenol therapy in pulmonary hypertension secondary to connective tissue diseases.