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.

8 signs and symptoms of pulmonary hypertension

Many people with pulmonary hypertension may have no symptoms at all, especially if the disease is mild or in the early stages.

Pulmonary hypertension symptoms may include:

  1. Shortness of breath that worsens with activity
  2. Other common complaints are cough, fatigue, dizziness, and lethargy.
  3. With the advancement of the condition and ensuing right heart failure, shortness of breath may become worse and retention of fluid in the body may increase (due to failure of the heart to pump blood forward) resulting in swelling the legs.


  4. People may also complain of chest pain and angina.
  5. Depending on the underlying associated disease, pulmonary artery hypertension can have other manifestations. For example, characteristic skin changes seen in scleroderma, or the signs of liver disease seen in portopulmonary hypertension.

Signs of pulmonary hypertension may include:

  1. Rapid breathing, hypoxia (low oxygen level in the blood), and swelling in the legs.
  2. In severe pulmonary hypertension, the health care professional may hear louder than normal components of heart sounds when he or she listens to the heart with a stethoscope (auscultation).
  3. The doctor may also feel elevation of the chest wall when the heart pumps and this may indicate enlargement of the right side of the heart suggestive of pulmonary hypertension (right ventricular heave).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/30/2016

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