Pulmonary Hypertension

  • Medical Author:
    George Schiffman, MD, FCCP

    Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Understanding COPD

Pulmonary hypertension facts

  • Pulmonary hypertension is abnormally elevated pressure in the pulmonary circulation.
  • The classification of primary and secondary pulmonary hypertension has been reclassified, and now is based on the main underlying disease or condition, symptoms, and treatment options for pulmonary hypertension. There are five classes or groups in this new classification system.
  • Pulmonary hypertension can have no identifiable cause and is then referred to as idiopathic pulmonary hypertension (formerly called primary pulmonary hypertension).
  • Pulmonary hypertension can be caused by certain drugs, diseases (scleroderma, dermatomyositis, systemic lupus), infections (HIV, schistosomiasis), liver disease, valvular heart disease, congenital heart disease, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), blood clots in the lungs, and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).
  • Pulmonary hypertension is diagnosed by measuring the pulmonary pressures by either ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram) or right heart catheterization.
  • The treatment for pulmonary hypertension can include oxygen, diuretics, blood thinners, medications that open the pulmonary arteries, and treatments for any underlying disease.
  • The prognosis and life expectancy for a person with pulmonary hypertension is improving as newer treatment options become available; however, prognosis may depend on the underlying disease or condition that is causing pulmonary hypertension.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/30/2016

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