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Ask The Expert Archive

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Pulmonary Hypertension Archive Questions

Below are Dr. Ramani’s answers to Pulmonary Hypertension questions
received through the Ask the Expert feature.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended
to be a substitute for individual medical advice in diagnosing or treating a
health problem. Please consult with your physician about your specific health
care concerns.

Now displaying records 1 to 13 of 13.


Q : 1

What causes pulmonary hypertension? Is being overweight a contributing factor and can childbirth make it worse? Also if a person is diagnosed with this disease, what if anything can they do to reverse it? Can losing weight and eating better make it better?

There are lots of different kinds of pulmonary hypertension, and several different causes. It depends on what type of pulmonary hypertension. Being overweight can contribute to some disease which can then in turn lead to pulmonary hypertension. Some types of PH are very treatable/reversible. It all depends on the cause. I would discuss these questions with your doctor.

Q : 2

Would heart burn be a symptom of pulmonary hypertension?

Common symptoms of pulmonary hypertension include exercise intolerance due to shortness of breath, easy fatigue, and possibly leg swelling and dizziness. Heart burn is not a typical symptom of pulmonary hypertension, but I would recommend discussing with your physician, so that he may examine you and order any subsequent testing.

Q : 3

Is it possible for COPD to turn into pulmonary hypertension? I was originally diagnosed with COPD and recently told that I have Pulmonary Hypertension. What's the difference between the two?

Patients with COPD can develop pulmonary hypertension, which is typically mild or moderate in severity. This is a small elevation in lung pressure, which is not uncommon. Only a small number of COPD patients develop severe pulmonary hypertension.

Q : 4

Does your department offer cardiopulmonary exercise testing?

Our cardiopulmonary exercise testing is performed through the department of pulmonary medicine, whom we collaborate very closely with.

Q : 5

What causes pulmonary hypertension and does exercise contribute to its worsening?

There are numerous causes of pulmonary hypertension, and therapy is often determined by the cause. Your doctor will recommend several tests to help with determining the cause and the type of PH. Exercise doesn't worsen pulmonary hypertension, but we discourage strenuous exercise or beginning an exercise program until your doctor has completed his evaluation and cleared you for exercise.

Q : 6

Can pulmonary hypertension be the result of years of smoking?

Lung diseases can cause mild to moderate pulmonary hypertension. If the smoking has caused COPD or emphysema, this can lead to pulmonary hypertension. Smoking can also cause heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks/heart failure which may result in pulmonary hypertension.

Q : 7

My father is 77 and has been diagnosed with COPD and pulmonary hypertension. His current treatment is 40mg of Lasix per day and 20mg of Revatio three times per day. With any exertion, he is completely out of breath and I am not sure the Revatio is working. What else can we try?

The benefit of Revatio in pulmonary hypertension associated with COPD is very variable - I think optimization of his COPD therapy is most valuable (oxygen, inhalers, spiriva), and ensuring that his fluid balance is optimal. Most other medical therapies for pulmonary hypertension are not very effective in the setting of COPD. I think your father's pulmonologist/cardiologist will be able to help.

Q : 8

Does PAH manifest suddenly and is it considered a complication to an unrelated surgery?

PAH can manifest insidiously or suddenly - it's very variable. I think that your PAH physician and the surgeon should discuss your condition prior to the surgery to ensure the best possible outcome.

Q : 9

I had an echo in 2005 which showed mitral valve prolapse and a second one in 2011 showed MVP and slight mitral valve regurgitation. The new echo also shows very mild pulmonary hypertension. I know this isn't a good thing to have, but considering everything found is "mild," can this condition be helped with medication?

Your situation sounds quite common, one that is frequently encountered in cardiology practices, and is routinely managed. I think it would be valuable to talk to your doctor, and potentially see a cardiologist regarding this condition.

Q : 10

I have unsuccessfully tried to lower my blood pressure and suspect that I might have pulmonary hypertension. My blood pressure is 190-200 over 97. Do you have any advice in the way of medication or natural remedies?

The blood pressure measurement you are describing is very different from the pulmonary artery pressure measurement required to diagnose pulmonary hypertension. Your blood pressure is quite high, and you should discuss with your primary doctor any changes to diet, or possible testing and medications that may help lower your blood pressure.

Q : 11

My father is 65 years old and has pulmonary hypertension. They have tried folan and other therapies and now say nothing else can be done. I saw your video about PTE, could he be a candidate? He is in a critical state.

Unfortunately, PTE is useful only for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension and not for all pulmonary hypertension.

Q : 12

I had a PET Scan that shows enlarged lymph nodes in my lung, the middle breast bone area and one to the left. My breast cancer doctor says that I could possibly have sarciodsis and that it could be life threatening. She said I need to see my Rheumatolist, is this the correct doctor to see?

There are certainly many causes to the enlarged lymph nodes, and sarcoidosis is a definite possibility. Both rheumatologists and pulmonologists manage sarcoidosis, and may be able to help. They may also recommend additional imaging tests or blood tests to help establish a diagnosis.

Q : 13

My 84-year-old mother has been diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension. Her doctor has recommended heart catheterization to confirm diagnosis. Is this standard?

Absolutely - right heart catheterization is required to assist in diagnosis, risk stratification, and choosing an appropriate therapy.


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