Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the pulmonary (lung) artery between the lungs and heart. It’s caused by narrowed, blocked, or damaged blood vessels due to inflammation or scarring. When this happens, it affects the blood flow from the heart to the lungs.
Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension can include chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, swelling in ankles or legs, and fainting. Untreated, pulmonary hypertension can lead to right-sided heart failure (caused by the heart working too hard to pump blood), as well as blood clots (pulmonary embolism), irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias), or bleeding in the lungs.
There are different types of pulmonary hypertension based on the cause, which can be unknown (called idiopathic pulmonary hypertension). Pulmonary hypertension can be inherited or caused by other conditions, such as:
- Autoimmune diseases: including scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis
- Blood disorders: including bleeding and clotting disorders and sickle cell disease
- Genetic disorders: such as lysosomal storage diseases
- Heart problems present at birth: also called congenital heart defects
- Heart disease: such as heart failure and aortic valve disease
- Infections: such as HIV
- Liver disease: including cirrhosis of the liver
- Lung diseases: including COPD and pulmonary fibrosis
- Medicines: such as diet drugs or toxins
- Sleep-disordered breathing: also called sleep apnea
If you or your doctor suspects pulmonary hypertension, visit with a pulmonologist (lung specialist) at the University of Miami Health System. The earlier we can start treatment, the better.
Why Choose UHealth?
Advanced diagnostics and care from specialists who know your condition. Pulmonary hypertension can go unnoticed in the early stages, or be confused with other heart or lung conditions. It’s good to know we use the most advanced heart and lung tests and technology to diagnose your condition as soon as possible. Early diagnosis means you’ll begin the right treatment sooner.
Multispecialty care with heart doctors, surgeons, and if needed, transplant teams. Our pulmonologists work closely with heart experts (cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons) and Miami Transplant Institute’s lung (and heart-lung) transplant team. You get comprehensive care from specialists with expertise in all stages of pulmonary hypertension, within the same system in South Florida