Pulmonary hypertension is a rare lung disorder in which the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs become narrowed, making it difficult for blood to flow through the vessels. As a result, the blood pressure in these arteries -- called pulmonary arteries -- rises far above normal levels. This abnormally high pressure strains the right ventricle of the heart, causing it to expand in size. Overworked and enlarged, the right ventricle gradually becomes weaker and loses its ability to pump enough blood to the lungs.
HOW IS PULMONARY HYPERTENSION DIAGNOSED?
A complete medical history, physical exam, and description of the symptoms are necessary to rule out other diseases and make the correct diagnosis. Other tests that might be ordered include:
• Blood tests:
• Chest X-ray:
• Pulmonary function tests:
• Polysomnogram or overnight oximetry:
• Right heart catheterization:
• Ventilation perfusion scan (V/Q scan):
• Pulmonary angiogram:
• Chest CT scan:
HOW IS PULMONARY HYPERTENSION TREATED?
Appropriate diagnosis and analysis of the problem is necessary before starting any treatment. Treatment varies by patient, based on the different underlying causes, but generally includes:
• taking medications,
• making lifestyle and dietary changes,
• having surgery, if necessary,
The surgery involves various types which include:
• Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy
• Lung transplantation
• Heart/lung transplantation
DID YOU KNOW?
Pulmonary hypertension can be caused by a type of congenital heart disease known as Eisenmenger syndrome.