Pulmonary Hypertension (PH)

Pulmonary hypertension (PH), or pulmonary HTN, is a condition that causes high blood pressure in the arteries in your lungs and can affect the right side of your heart.

Normal pulmonary artery pressure is 8-20 mm Hg when resting. If the pulmonary artery pressure is greater than 20 mm Hg at rest, it’s classified as PH. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), formerly called primary pulmonary hypertension, is a progressive form of PH that occurs when blood vessels in the lungs narrow, harden, or become blocked. If you have PH, you may experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, chest pain, or a racing heart. Left untreated, PH can lead to right heart failure and death.

PH can develop slowly and not show any signs or symptoms. When a patient has severe pulmonary hypertension, symptoms are often present at rest and during physical activity. Your doctor will have to run a variety of tests to diagnose PH. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor will classify the severity of the condition and the type of PH to help determine the treatment. Treatment may include medications or surgery to help improve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

Types of pulmonary hypertension and causes

Depending on the cause, PH is classified into five groups, and our heart experts treat them all.

Group 1: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)

PAH disease, also known as primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), occurs when the arterial walls in the lungs tighten and stiffen. As a result, the right side of your heart enlarges and struggles to pump blood through the lungs.

Group 2: Pulmonary venous hypertension (PVH) due to left heart disease

This condition often results from diseases of the left side of the heart, such as structural heart disease or heart valve disease, and failure of the left heart chamber or left ventricle. This causes “back pressure” of fluid from the left side of the heart to the blood vessels of the lungs.

Group 3: Pulmonary hypertension related to lung disease or hypoxia

This condition is caused by chronic lung disease or hypoxia. Causes can include COPD/emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, sleep apnea, and living in a high-altitude area for too long.

Group 4: Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH)

This rare form of PH oc