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PostPosted: 21 Jun 2019 12:30 

Joined: 19 Dec 2017 14:21
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• Pulmonary hypertension refers to elevated pressure in the blood vessels of the lung, which transport blood from the right ventricle to the lungs. It is a rare condition
• Pulmonary hypertension can be broadly divided into pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) that occurs due to disorders of the lung or arterial vasculature and pulmonary venous hypertension that occurs due to disorders of the pulmonary venous drainage or of the left heart

This topic will deal with pulmonary arterial hypertension

The clinical classification of is useful in understanding the aetiology and to plan treatment
• Group 1 Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)
o idiopathic or primary PAH
o Can be associated with connective tissue disease such as scleroderma, certain drugs and toxins, HIV infection, chronic liver disease
• Group 2 Left heart disease
o Usually seen with left heart dysfunction either systolic, diastolic and valve disease
• Group 3 Lung disease
o Occurs in patients with COPD or interstitial lung disease, sleep apnea, exposure to high altitudes
• Group 4 Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension
• Group 5 Unclear and multifactorial mechanisms
o Rare diseases

• Young adult - Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension
• Family history
• Raised BMI (increased incidence of sleep apnea)
• Taking illegal drugs, such as cocaine, appetite suppressants
• You take certain appetite-suppressant medications
• Living at high altitudes

PAH occurs when the pulmonary arteries and capillaries that transport blood from the right ventricle to lungs become narrowed or destroyed. This is thought to be triggered by a variety of factors (see above), but the exact cause why PAH occurs remains unknown. In some cases, PAH can be familial and is inherited

• Most common symptom is breathless on exertion that progressively worsens and then occurs even at rest
• Tiredness and fatigue
• Fainting episodes (syncope)
• Fast heart beat or palpitations
• Chest heaviness or pain
• Bluish tinge of lips and skin (cyanosis)
• Swelling (edema) in feet, legs and abdomen (ascites)

• Right ventricular enlargement and failure
• Arrhythmias
• Bleeding into lung and potentially fatal hemoptysis

There are many causes of PH and treatment depends on the etiology. If a diagnosis of PAH is suspected clinically, several tests will be performed to assess the severity and possible cause. These include

• Blood tests - to rule out or identify illnesses that can cause PH
Echocardiogram – This is basically ultrasound of the heart to check the heart for size, blood flow, ability to function, and any abnormalities in the chambers or valves.
• Ventilation-perfusion scan – A dye is injected through an IV (intravenous line) to determine how well air and blood pass through lungs and presence of blood clots in the lungs.
• Pulmonary function test - measures amount of air and how fast the patient can expire into a machine. The test helps to diagnose lung diseases such as asthma or emphysema.
• CT scan – Specialized imaging test to look for changes or abnormalities in the lung tissue
Heart catheterization – Minimally invasive procedure to measure the blood pressure in the heart and arteries. A thin, flexible tube is introduced into an arm, leg, or neck vein, and then guided slowly into the heart and lung artery. In pulmonary arterial hypertension mean pulmonary artery pressure >=25 mmHg at rest, measured at right heart catheterisation
• A dye may be injected into the heart arteries to look for blockages. This test can detect presence and severity of PAH and possible etiology in some cases
Sleep study – Measures oxygen levels in the blood while sleeping. The test identifies occurrence of sleep apnea which can cause PAH
• Open-lung biopsy – Rarely, an open-lung biopsy may be performed to obtain a sample of lung tissue and to check histologically to determine the cause of secondary hypertension


The WHO has divided PAH into 4 stages to determine severity of disease. These are
• Class I - Pulmonary hypertension, with no symptoms while doing normal activity.
• Class II – Asymptomatic at rest, but symptoms such as shortness of breath, tiredness or chest pain are present while performing normal physical activity
• Class III - comfortable at rest, but have symptoms with minor physical exertion
• Class IV – Occurrence of symptoms at rest

There is no cure for PAH but the condition can be successfully controlled. Treatment may help improve symptoms and slow the progress of the disease

Bosentan (Tracleer) – A tablet taken twice a day to reduce pressure in your lungs, improve exercise tolerance and slow down the disease.
Epoprostenol (Flolan)– This is administered continuously via an IV line. A permanent IV catheter is inserted into a vein along with a portable pump. This is reserved for patients with more serious illness. It decreases symptoms, and can prolong life.
Treprostinil (Tyvaso, Remodulin, Orenitram), another form of the Epoprostenol, is given four times a day as inhaler, oral medication or by injection.
Calcium channel blockers can be given to dilate narrowed blood vessels in the lungs but works only in some patients.
Soluble guanylate cyclase (SGC) stimulator - interact with nitric oxide to dilate narrowed pulmonary arteries and reduce pulmonary hypertension

Diuretics and Digoxin are given to treat fluid build-up and heart failure
Anticoagulants such as warfarin are given to prevent clot formation
Oxygen therapy to improve oxygen levels in blood

Atrial septostomy – An opening is created between the upper left and right chambers of the heart (atria) to reduce the pressure in the right heart
Transplant – When patient is unresponsive to medications, a lung transplant or a heart-and-lung transplant may be considered particularly in younger patients with idiopathic PH

Treatment options have improved for PAH although it cannot be cured. Early diagnosis and treatment is key to reduce risk of complications, and prolong survival in PAH. The 5 year survival following transplant is about 50-60%

Pulmonary arterial hypertension is elevated pressure in the pulmonary arteries and capillaries
In pulmonary arterial hypertension mean pulmonary artery pressure >=25 mmHg at rest, measured at right heart catheterisation
Idiopathic or primary PH is more common in younger patients
There is no cure for PAH but symptoms can be controlled and progression of disease can be slowed down with early diagnosis
In patients not responding to medical treatment, heart-lung transplant can help

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PostPosted: 23 Jun 2019 18:23 
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Joined: 26 Feb 2013 10:59
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Pulmonary Hypertension is not a common condition and extremely difficult to treat. It is often unrecognised and as you mention symptoms may mimic other cardiovascular diseases. Until recently it was neglected and no attempt was made to treat it effectively. It may be caused my many factors and quite often no definitive cause can be found. It is then listed as idiopathic or congenital. When the pathology is confined to the arteries in the lung the endothelin plays a major part.

Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a potent endogenous vasoconstrictor, secreted by endothelial cells. It acts through receptors on the endothelium. Apart from a vasoconstrictive action it can also cause fibrosis of the vascular cells resulting in constriction of the pulmonary arterioles and stiffening of the vessel walls leading to increased pulmonary artery pressure.

Most of the drugs that you have mentioned to treat the local pathology are endothelin-receptor antagonists, They prevent the release of Endothelin and may help relieve symptoms to an extent.

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