A rare lung disorder that affects the arteries that carry blood to the lungs
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
Pulmonary hypertension occurs when the pulmonary arteries become narrowed. This makes it more difficult for blood to flow through the arteries, leading to high blood pressure in the lungs. This increased pressure puts strain on the right ventricle of the heart, causing it to expand in size and work too hard.
This chronic condition can cause shortness of breath during activity and, as it progresses, even at rest. If left untreated, pulmonary hypertension can lead to heart failure. Blood clots in the lungs can cause a form of pulmonary hypertension called chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension.
Treating pulmonary hypertension requires the expert care, disease management and follow-up our specialists provide. Our Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic partners with the National Institutes of Health to provide access to advanced testing and clinical trials for pulmonary hypertension not available anywhere else. We’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan to lessen symptoms and improve your quality of life.
What are the causes and symptoms of pulmonary hypertension?
A number of medical conditions can cause pulmonary hypertension, including heart valve disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), liver diseases and rheumatic disorders. Living at high altitudes, obesity, and sleep apnea also can lead to the development of pulmonary hypertension. Other times, the cause of pulmonary hypertension may not be known.
Early on, you may not notice any symptoms. As the condition gets worse, symptoms such as these may make it difficult to participate in everyday activities:
Diagnosing pulmonary hypertension can be a challenge because it may be caused by many medical conditions. Your doctor will use a thorough physical exam and medical history to help rule out other problems and may then order a number of additional tests.
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.
Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart and chest wall.
The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.
Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.
If your pulmonary hypertension is not advanced, we can help you manage the symptoms and slow the progress of the disease. Your treatment plan may include medications to allow better blood flow in the lungs’ arteries or lifestyle changes. In more serious cases, we may recommend surgical options, including a pulmonary thromboendarterectomy, lung transplant or heart and lung transplant.