Pulmonary Hypertension

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pulmonary hypertension is a lung condition which is characterized by increased pressure in the pulmonary artery, which carries deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lung. It causes high blood pressure in pulmonary capillaries of the lungs. The symptoms are shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, peripheral edema, etc. Pulmonary hypertension can be caused by mitral stenosis, a ventricular insuffiency, chronic exposure to high altitude, developmental lung abnormalities, etc.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension involves the vasoconstriction (tightening) of blood vessels connected to and within the lungs. This makes it harder for the heart to pump blood through the lungs, much as it is harder to make water flow through a narrow pipe as opposed to a wide one. Over time, the affected blood vessels become both stiffer and thicker, in a process known as fibrosis. This further increases the blood pressure within the lungs and impairs their blood flow. In addition, the increased workload of the heart causes hypertrophy of the right ventricle, making the heart less able to pump blood through the lungs, ultimately causing right heart failure.

Treatment for pulmonary hypertension consists of lifestyle changes, digoxin, diuretics, oral anticoagulants, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, and oxygen therapy are considered conventional therapy, although they have never been proven to be beneficial in a randomized, prospective manner.

Pulmonary Hypertension