BACKGROUND : Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) remains a life-threatening condition, despite modern therapies. We prospectively investigated the therapeutic health-related quality of life (HRQOL) effects of goal-oriented sequential combination therapy based on exercise capacity in patients newly diagnosed with PAH. METHODS : To examine the changes in HRQOL in PAH patients, we treated 30 patients newly diagnosed with PAH with goal-oriented sequential combination therapy based on exercise capacity. We monitored exercise capacity by cardiopulmonary exercise testing and observed the benefit of using a peak VO2 cut-off of 15 mL/kg/min to guide combination therapy. First-line treatment was an endothelin receptor antagonist (ERA); second-line treatment was the addition of a phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor (PDE-5I). At baseline and at 3, 6, and 12 months, HRQOL was evaluated by using the eight-item Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form Health Survey. RESULTS : At 12 months, 100% of PAH patients were receiving an ERA, and 82% an ERA + PDE-5I. The mean physical component summary (PCS) score was 33.5 at baseline, 41.2 at 3 months, 40.8 at 6 months, and 42.0 at 12 months, and the mean mental component summary (MCS) scores were 45.6, 47.0, 50.0, and 50.1, respectively. PCS score was significantly greater at 3 months than at baseline (P = 0.035). MCS score was comparable at 3 months and at baseline, but was significantly greater at 6 and 12 months than at baseline (P = 0.033, P = 0.028, respectively). Thus, PCS score improved soon after initiation of therapy, and MCS score improved later. CONCLUSIONS : Together, these results suggest that goal-oriented sequential combination therapy based on exercise capacity improves HRQOL in patients with PAH.