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Pulmonary Hypertension (cont.)

Pulmonary Hypertension Causes

Traditionally, pulmonary hypertension is divided into two classes: primary and secondary.

Primary pulmonary hypertension (or idiopathic pulmonary hypertension) is not caused by any other underlying condition.

Secondary pulmonary hypertension is caused by other underlying conditions, such as:

  • recurring blood clots in the lungs,
  • left-sided congestive heart failure,
  • long-standing (chronic) lung diseases,
  • illicit drug use,
  • certain medications,
  • some rheumatologic conditions, or
  • inflammation of the pulmonary blood vessels.

More specifically, pulmonary hypertension may be caused by:

Other less common causes of secondary hypertension include:

Secondary pulmonary hypertension is much more common than primary pulmonary hypertension.

There is also a newer classification of this condition, which is more complex. In this system, pulmonary hypertension may be divided into five basic groups based on whether the underlying cause is:

  1. lung disease,
  2. heart disease,
  3. vascular (blood vessel) disease,
  4. blood clots, or
  5. compression on the blood vessels from outside the vessel.

Pulmonary Hypertension Risk Factors

Because there are many conditions that can lead to pulmonary hypertension (as listed above), the risk factors for these conditions may also be considered risk factors for pulmonary hypertension. Therefore, the list for the risk factors for pulmonary hypertension may be very extensive.

Primary pulmonary hypertension (or idiopathic pulmonary hypertension) is largely sporadic, but it may be associated with a genetic mutation. A minority of these cases is seen in families (familial), and these may be also linked to a genetic predisposition.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/5/2016

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