Pulmonary Hypertension

Also known as: Secondary pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary high blood pressure

What is ​Pulmonary Hypertension?

Hypertension means high blood pressure, but in the case of pulmonary hypertension, the high pressure affects the pulmonary arteries that take blood from the heart to the lungs. As these arteries narrow, the increase in pressure makes the right side of the heart work harder causing damage to the right ventricle of the heart.

What causes pulmonary hypertension?
There are many causes of PH and some children have more than one cause. In some children no cause can be found. Children may be predisposed to pulmonary hypertension due to genetics, though this appears to be rare.  It can also occur as a complication of other heart, lung, liver or blood problem. Occasionally it can be the result of treatments for cancer, liver & kidney diseases.  In older children, conditions like sleep apnea and obesity can increase risk. Certain drugs also can lead to pulmonary hypertension.

What are the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension?
The blood flow problems from pulmonary hypertension can cause, fatigue ( often the first symptom to develop ), shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting ( particularly with exercise). As it progresses, irregular heartbeat ,chest pain, and a blue tinge to the lips can occur with worsening breathing and dizziness.

What are pulmonary hypertension care options?
While there may be no cure for PA, any underlying cause needs to be addressed first. Oxygen,  medications and/ or surgery may improve blood flow and help with symptoms of pulmonary hypertension as may certain lifestyle changes like losing weight and exercising.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 6/12/2018 1:57:13 PM


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