Pulmonary Hypertension ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pulmonary hypertension (PH or PHTN) is a condition of increased blood pressure within the arteries of the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, syncope, tiredness, chest pain, swelling of the legs, and a fast heartbeat. The condition may make it difficult to exercise. Onset is typically gradual.
A patient is deemed to have pulmonary hypertension if the pulmonary mean arterial pressure is greater than 25mmHg at rest, or greater than 30mmHg during exercise.
The cause is often unknown. Risk factors include family history, prior blood clots in the lungs, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell disease, cocaine use, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sleep apnea, living at high altitudes, and problems with the mitral valve. The underlying mechanism typically involves inflammation and subsequent remodeling of the arteries in the lungs. Diagnosis involves first ruling out other potential causes.
There is currently no cure for pulmonary hypertension, although research on a cure is ongoing. Treatment depends on the type of disease. A number of supportive measures such as oxygen therapy, diuretics, and medications to inhibit blood clotting may be used. Medications specifically used to treat pulmonary hypertension include epoprostenol, treprostinil, iloprost, bosentan, ambrisentan, macitentan, and sildenafil. Lung transplantation may be an option in severe cases.
While the exact frequency of the condition is unknown, it is estimated that about 1,000 new cases occur a year in the United States. Females are more often affected than males. Onset is typically between 20 and 60 years of age. It was first identified by Ernst von Romberg in 1891.
Less common signs/symptoms include non-productive cough and exercise-induced nausea and vomiting. Coughing up of blood may occur in some patients, particularly those with specific subtypes of pulmonary hypertension such as heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension, Eisenmenger syndrome and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension.
Pulmonary venous hypertension typically presents with shortness of breath while lying flat or sleeping (orthopnea or paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea), while pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) typically does not.
Other typical signs of pulmonary hypertension include an accentuated pulmonary component of the second heart sound, a right ventricular third heart sound, and a parasternal heave indicating a hypertrophied right ventricle. Signs of systemic congestion resulting from right-sided heart failure include jugular venous distension, ascites, and hepatojugular reflux. Evidence of tricuspid insufficiency and pulmonic regurgitation is also sought and, if present, is consistent with the presence of pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension is a pathophysiologic condition with many possible causes. Indeed, this condition frequently accompanies severe heart or lung conditions. A 1973 World Health Organization meeting was the first attempt to classify pulmonary hypertension by its cause, and a distinction was made between primary PH (resulting from a disease of the pulmonary arteries) and secondary PH (resulting from secondary to other, non-vascular causes). Further, primary PH was divided into the "arterial plexiform", "veno-occlusive" and "thromboembolic" forms. In 1998, a second conference at Évian-les-Bains addressed the causes of secondary PH. Subsequent third, fourth, and fifth (2013) World Symposia on PAH have further defined the classification of PH. The classification continues to evolve based on an improved understanding of the disease mechanisms.
Most recently in 2015, the WHO guidelines were updated by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and European Respiratory Society (ERS). These guidelines are endorsed by the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation and provide the current framework for understanding and treatment of pulmonary hypertension.
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Journal of lung