Pulmonary hypertension


Chest | Pulmonology | Pulmonary hypertension (Disease)


Description

Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) is an increase in blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, pulmonary vein, or pulmonary capillaries, together known as the lung vasculature, leading to shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, and other symptoms, all of which are exacerbated by exertion.

Causes and Risk factors

When an underlying cause for high blood pressure in the lungs cant be found, the condition is called idiopathic pulmonary hypertension (IPH).

Some people with IPH may have a gene thats a risk factor for developing pulmonary hypertension. But in most people with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, there is no recognized cause of their pulmonary hypertension.

Pulmonary hypertension thats caused by another medical problem is called secondary pulmonary hypertension. This type of pulmonary hypertension is more common than is idiopathic pulmonary hypertension. Causes of secondary pulmonary hypertension include:

Eisenmenger syndrome, a type of congenital heart defect, causes pulmonary hypertension. It is most commonly caused by a large hole in your heart between the two lower heart chambers (ventricles), called a ventricular septal defect (VSD). This hole in your heart causes blood to circulate abnormally in your heart. Oxygen-carrying blood (red blood) mixes with oxygen-poor blood (blue blood). The blood then returns to your lungs instead of going to the rest of your body, increasing the pressure in the pulmonary arteries and causing pulmonary hypertension.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Pulmonary hypertension can be a severe disease with a markedly decreased exercise tolerance and heart failure. Because pulmonary hypertension can be of five major types, a series of tests must be performed to distinguish pulmonary arterial hypertension from venous, hypoxic, thromboembolic, or miscellaneous varieties.

A physical examination is performed to look for typical signs of pulmonary hypertension. These include altered heart sounds, such as a widely split S2 or second heart sound, a loud P2 or pulmonic valve closure sound (part of the second heart sound), (para)sternal heave, possible S3 or third heart sound, and pulmonary regurgitation.

Other signs include an elevated jugular venous pressure, peripheral edema (swelling of the ankles and feet), ascites (abdominal swelling due to the accumulation of fluid), hepatojugular reflux, and clubbing.

The treatment for pulmonary hypertension depends on the cause.

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