Symptoms and Signs of Pulmonary Hypertension

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 9/20/2022

Doctor's Notes on Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary arteries are blood vessels that move blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs where oxygen is received into the blood. If the pressure of blood circulating in the pulmonary arteries (pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary artery hypertension, or pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Many patients with pulmonary hypertension may not have any symptoms. When symptoms of pulmonary hypertension occur they may include shortness of breath, and less commonly coughfatigue, lethargy, and dizziness. Other symptoms of pulmonary hypertension include low oxygen level (hypoxia), rapid breathing, or leg swelling. As the disease progresses, right-sided heart failure (cor pulmonale) may occur, and symptoms include worsening shortness of breath, fluid retention (edema) with swelling of the legs, or chest pain (angina).

What is the treatment for pulmonary hypertension?

No cure for this disease exists but there are many treatments to improve symptoms and slow disease progression. There are two major categories, medications and surgery, that may be used to treat; the following is a summary of these – some patients use more than one or two treatment plans:

  • Medications (with one example)
    • Vasodilators – Flolan
    • Guanylate cyclase stimulators (lowers lung pressure) – riociguat
    • Endothelin receptor antagonists (widens blood vessels) – bosentan
    • PDE5 inhibitors (increase blood flow) – sildenafil
    • Calcium channel blockers – diltiazem
    • Anticoagulants – Warfarin
    • Digoxin (stronger heartbeats) - Lanoxin 
    • Diuretics – furosemide
    • Oxygen
  • Surgery

Your doctors can help determine the best treatment plan for your condition; extensive guidelines are available from the American College of Cardiology.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.