Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension can present a range of symptoms, including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Chest pains
  • Lack of appetite
  • Speeding heart rate
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Swollen ankles or legs
  • Bluish tinge to lips or skin

A full analysis of your condition is necessary to plan treatment.

If you suffer from this condition, the first step is a thorough analysis of your heart, veins, and arteries to identify the source of the problem. You may undergo a series of tests, including X-ray, echocardiogram, EKG, CT scan, a chest MRI, and other tests. Once the condition is confirmed as being pulmonary hypertension, the extent of the condition may be evaluated with an exercise test while you are hooked up to an EKG, after which a treatment plan is created. The treatment will be based on the severity of your pulmonary hypertension. The condition is classified as one of the following:

  • Class I: You have the condition but are not experiencing any symptoms.
  • Class II: You do not experience any symptoms when at rest, but when you are normally active, you experience fatigue, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
  • Class III: You have symptoms whenever you are physically active.
  • Class IV: You have symptoms whether you are resting or active.

San Diego Cardiac Center: Treatments for pulmonary hypertension

We invite you to find out more about San Diego Cardiac Center, the leading heart clinic in the region. Our specialists provide the highest level of expertise and deliver the entire spectrum of advanced cardiac care, including treating pulmonary hypertension. We adopt new, more effective therapies through our clinical research and often deliver groundbreaking treatments before they are broadly available. We are compassionate and dedicated and will do all we can to increase your quality of life through improved heart health.

Medications for pulmonary hypertension

You may be prescribed medication to open narrowed blood vessels, called vasodilators. You may have an IV line attached to a small pump you wear. Other types of vasodilators may be injected, inhaled, or taken as a pill. Other medications include GSC stimulators to increase the nitric oxide in your body to relieve pressure. Several medications reverse the effect of a specific substance on the walls of blood vessels that cause them to narrow, called endothelin. 

Surgical treatments for pulmonary hypertension

Surgical treatments for serious cases of pulmonary hypertension may involve an open-heart surgery in which an opening is created between the upper chambers of the heart to relieve pressure. In very serious cases, a heart transplant may be the best option. Less serious cases can be treated with various less invasive techniques such as heart valve replacement, bypass surgery, or device implantation.

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