Pulmonary Hypertension

See us if you have any of these pulmonary hypertension symptoms:

Shortness of breath (first with movement and later at rest), fatigue, swelling of the feet, legs, belly, and neck. Less common symptoms include chest pain, pounding of the heart, fainting, coughing up blood, or voice change.

Pulmonary hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure in the blood vessels between the lungs and the heart. There are numerous causes including other medical conditions including heart disease, lung disease, and connective tissue disease. Pulmonary hypertension is a serious condition that can be treated (but not cured) and can lead to heart failure. There are five different types of pulmonary hypertension:

  • Group 1: pulmonary arterial hypentension (PAH)
  • Group 2: pulmonary hypertension due to left-sided heart disease (left heart failure, valve disease)
  • Group 3: pulmonary hypertension due to lung diseases or hypoxemia (low blood oxygen conditions): pulmonary fibrosis/interstitial lung disease; obstructive sleep apnea; chronic high-altitude exposure; and other causes
  • Group 4: CTEPH (chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension)—blood clots in the lungs blocking blood flow
  • Group 5: Pulmonary hypertension from numerous other potential metabolic, systemic, or hematologic disorders

Regardless of the cause of pulmonary hypertension, blood flow through the lungs to the left side of the heart is reduced and the pressure inside the vessels increases. This may cause the blood vessel walls to thicken within the lungs and further worsen and puts a strain on the heart to work harder to get the blood through.

Treatment

There are many different types of therapies for PH.  Treatment strategies very largely based on the severity of the PH.  Every person is different and it is essential that you talk to your own doctor about what treatment options are best for you. Some of the therapies available include:

Conventional Medical Therapies

Calcium Channel Blockers – help decrease blood pressure

Digoxin – Assists in the pumping of the heart

Diuretics – Rids excess fluid that puts pressure on the heart

Supplemental Oxygen – Inhaled by patients via nasal cannula or face mask

Warfarin (Coumadin®) – Thins blood and prevents clotting

Other types of therapies

Oral medications

Inhaled Treatments

Intravenous Treatments (given through a needle placed in a vein)

Injections

Clinical Research Trials

New medications are being produced and studied to help treat pulmonary hypertension.  Talk to your doctor to see if there is a study that would be right for you.

Pulmonary hypertension is a serious condition and the lung specialists at PAR are specially-trained to diagnose and treat it. If you have symptoms, contact us immediately.