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Pulmonary Hypertension: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Sep 20, 2023

How is the treatment done?

Pulmonary Hypertension is a kind of high blood pressure which affects the functioning of the arteries in your lungs along with the right side of your heart. In a certain kind of pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary arterioles and capillaries get narrowed down, blocked or destroyed completely which makes it extremely difficult for blood to flow through your lungs. Simultaneously, this raises pressure within your lungs’ arteries and causes the pressure to build in the right ventricle. The pressure build compels the blood to pump harder through the lungs resulting in the heart muscle to weaken which can eventually lead to heart fail as well

Pulmonary Hypertension is extremely dangerous. However, treatment at the right time can help you lead a healthier and better life with the disease. Doctors are often not able to find the reason for high blood pressure in the lungs. Sometimes, genes also play a role in inheriting this disease. In case you are affected with diseases like emphysema, a heart defect which you were born with, sleep apnea, HIV, autoimmune diseases, drug use, congestive heart failure or blood clots in the lung, then you are more prone to having the disease.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Pulmonary Hypertension varies from person to person, therefore, the treatment for every individual can be different. Firstly, the cause of the disease is identified by the doctor and then the cause is treated to cure Pulmonary Hypertension. Oxygen therapy is suggested to improve breathing problems. Blood thinners are recommended to people who have blood clotting issues. Other medications are also used to improve the working of the heart and to keep the fluids from building in the body.

Calcium channel blockers are suggested by doctors in case of severe pulmonary hypertension. These medicines help in lowering the blood pressure in the lungs and help rest the body. In extremely severe cases when the medications do not suffice, doctors recommend the patients to opt for a lung transplant or a procedure called atrial septostomy. However, this surgery can cause severe side effects as well.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Individuals who are already affected by diseases like HIV, sleep apnea, clotting of blood among others are suggested to get tested and treated for pulmonary hypertension. Other symptoms like chest pain, fatigue, swelling of ankles and legs and passing out should not be ignored by individuals with threat of pulmonary hypertension disease.

Are there any side effects?

Pulmonary hypertension is an extremely dangerous disease therefore, without a proper checkup and diagnoses, one should not get the treatment. A medical practitioner should be approached before taking any serious step.

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What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Certain medications can have severe side effects. For an instance, Epoprostenol needs continuous infusion into the heart and this needs the catheter to be surgically implanted to the chest. Patients have to wear a pump around the waist to ensure the delivery of the drug to the catheter. Epoprostenol has some severe side effects like pump malfunction, blood clotting, and catheter infections. The side effects of the drug induce can be diarrhea, joint pains and rashes. Sudden weight gain, irregular heartbeats, blurred vision or fainting, swelling of the arms, ankles and legs are few of the side effects to various other medications. The process of atrial septostomy can cause complications like tearing of the cardiac tissue, arrhythmias and in rare cases, it can be fatal as well.

How long does it take to recover?

Patients need to be very careful about their post treatment choices as the disease cannot be cured. Therefore, individuals need to be extremely mindful about following a healthy diet and giving up on the habit of smoking. Keeping your body engaged by doing physical activities on a regular basis is mandatory for individuals affected by pulmonary hypertension.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Pulmonary Hypertension is an incurable disease. The disease keeps progressing throughout the patient’s life. However, with proper medications and treatments, patients can still live a healthy life and slower the progression of the disease.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Since pulmonary hypertension cannot be cured completely, patients need to be very careful about being regular with their medications and their timely visits to the doctor. The medications and treatment given can help individuals lead a longer and healthier life.

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Written ByDr. Rahul Gupta MD - Internal Medicine,MBBS,DM - Cardiology,Fellow European Society of CardiologyCardiology
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