Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in your lungs.
This progressive disease occurs when arteries in the lungs start to narrow, which increases the blood pressure in your lungs. This then causes the right side of your heart to weaken.
If undetected and untreated, pulmonary hypertension can lead to shortness of breath (at rest or with exercise), irregular heartbeats, and eventually right-sided heart failure or even death.
Types of Pulmonary Hypertension
The five types of pulmonary hypertension include the following:
- Group 1: Includes idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, meaning there is no known cause; it can also run in families, be due to gene mutations, autoimmune diseases, drugs or toxins.
- Group 2: Pulmonary hypertension associated with left-sided heart disease, which can be caused by heart failure or valve diseases.
- Group 3: Pulmonary hypertension associated with lung diseases, which can be caused by COPD, pulmonary fibrosis or sleep apnea.
- Group 4: Pulmonary hypertension associated with blood clots, which occurs when old blood clots are in the lungs.
- Group 5: Pulmonary hypertension associated with other diseases, including blood disease or systemic diseases like sarcoidosis or amyloidosis.
Diagnosing Pulmonary Hypertension
Common symptoms of pulmonary hypertension can include shortness of breath, fatigue, fainting, irregular heartbeat, bloating, and swelling in the ankles, legs or belly.
If you have any of these symptoms, our team will conduct a thorough evaluation of your medical, social and family history, and perform a complete physical exam.
Your doctor will then order a variety of tests — including an echocardiogram, a chest X-ray and other tests and scans. Depending on your results, you may need a right-heart catheterization.
Treatments for Pulmonary Hypertension
Our experts will work with you to develop a personalized care plan to treat your pulmonary hypertension.
Treatments may include medications, but your provider may decide that the best approach is to treat the underlying disease that is causing your pulmonary hypertension.
RUSH Excellence in Pulmonary Hypertension
- Experts in the disease: Pulmonary hypertension is a rare disease, so it’s important to have a team of clinicians who are experts at diagnosing and treating the condition. At RUSH, our specialists focus on treating all types of pulmonary hypertension and stay updated on the latest advances.
- Fast, accurate diagnosis: RUSH pulmonologists use state-of-the-art testing to pinpoint whether your breathing problems and other symptoms are being caused by pulmonary hypertension. Getting the right diagnosis will help you get the treatment plan right for you.
- A team approach: To help you live a better life with pulmonary hypertension, your RUSH pulmonologist works closely with specialists in other clinical areas like cardiology, rheumatology and pulmonary rehabilitation. Coordinated care within RUSH means that you have a seamless experience; your providers communicate with each other frequently and share your electronic health records with real-time updates.
- Care close to home: RUSH pulmonologists are located in Chicago, Oak Park and Aurora/Fox Valley. Even if you have tests or procedures at RUSH University Medical Center, you can schedule follow-up appointments or pulmonary rehabilitation at a location that's convenient for you.