Pulmonary Hypertension Treated at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore

The Lung Center at Mercy Baltimore

Pulmonary hypertension is a serious form of high blood pressure that impacts the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart. Pulmonary hypertension begins when the small arteries in the lungs become narrow, making it difficult for the blood to flow through the lungs and increasing blood pressure. The increased pressure makes the right side of the heart work harder to pump blood to the lungs. Eventually, this stress on the heart can lead to heart disease and heart failure. 

There are several types of pulmonary hypertension, and it is important to carefully identify the variety in order to prescribe the best treatment plan.

About the Condition

Pulmonary hypertension is a serious form of high blood pressure that impacts the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart. Pulmonary hypertension begins when the small arteries in the lungs become narrow, making it difficult for the blood to flow through the lungs and increasing blood pressure. The increased pressure makes the right side of the heart work harder to pump blood to the lungs. Eventually, this stress on the heart can lead to heart disease and heart failure. 

There are several types of pulmonary hypertension, and it is important to carefully identify the variety in order to prescribe the best treatment plan.

What causes Pulmonary Hypertension? 

Pulmonary hypertension is called idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension in cases where a cause is unknown. The accurate diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of pulmonary hypertension can be difficult to determine. Some causes of pulmonary hypertension may include:

  • Autoimmune diseases (scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Birth defects of the heart
  • Blood clots in the lung
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart valve disease
  • HIV infection
  • Low oxygen levels in the blood
  • COPD
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Medication
  • Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Pulmonary hypertension is not curable and can be potentially fatal. There are treatments available to improve symptoms. In its early stages, pulmonary hypertension may not be detected for quite some time. Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension become worse as the disease progresses.
Pulmonary hypertension symptoms may include:

  • Abdomen swelling
  • Fainting spells
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Racing pulse
  • Ankle and leg swelling
  • Lips and skin are blue in color
  • Fatigue

To diagnose pulmonary hypertension, a physical exam with a lung specialist will include a complete medical history, along with tests that may include:

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Pulmonary hypertension can be difficult to treat. Typically the objective is to manage the symptoms and stop continued lung damage. This generally includes a combination of medicine and surgery.

The doctors at The Lung Center at Mercy have the experience and skills necessary to carefully identify your specific type of pulmonary hypertension in order to prescribe the best treatment plan. In some cases, The Center’s physicians may work in conjunction with cardiology colleagues to treat it.

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