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Pulmonary Hypertension

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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:

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

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.

Treatments

  • Medicine therapy

    Oral medications can improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, relax the heart muscles, or improve heart functioning. These include blood thinners, diuretics (get rid of water and salt in the body), calcium channel blockers (prevent calcium from entering the heart and blood vessel walls), and vasodilators (widen blood vessels).

  • Oxygen therapy

    If blood oxygen levels are too low, your doctor may prescribe inhaled oxygen as needed, such as before exercise or long-term for most of the day. There are different devices available. Many are portable, meaning they’re easy to move or take with you on the go.

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation

    Pulmonary rehabilitation programs involve support, education, exercise, and nutrition counseling and training to help you live better with COPD. Our programs are personalized to your needs, and focus on keeping you active and enjoying life.

  • Surgery

    Atrial septostomy is a form of cardiothoracic surgery that relieves the pressure in the right side of the heart, improving blood flow to the lungs. It’s an open-heart surgery that involves making a small hole in the wall between the upper left and right chambers of the heart, called the atria.

  • Transplant

    If your condition is severe and doesn’t respond well to other treatments, a lung transplant may be an option.

Tests

  • Cardiology diagnostic tests

    Your doctor may request diagnostic heart tests to look for heart problems related to pulmonary hypertension. These include an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart), or cardiac catheterization (a procedure that involves a flexible tube and a tiny camera passed through a blood vessel in the groin or arm to access the heart).

  • Exercise stress test

    Your doctor may order an exercise test to measure lung function before, during, and after physical activity, using a treadmill or stationary bike.

  • Medical imaging

    Chest X-rays and advanced diagnostic imaging, such as CT (computed tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, detect problems in the structure, function, and blood flow of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.

  • Pulmonary function tests

    Pulmonary function tests measure lung functioning. They show how much air your lungs can hold, how quickly air moves in and out, and how well the carbon dioxide/oxygen gas exchange works. Methods include spirometry, or a mouthpiece attached to a machine, and plethysmography, performed in a box that looks like a phone booth.

  • Ventilation/perfusion scan (V/Q)

    A lung ventilation/perfusion scan (V/Q scan) is a nuclear imaging test that measures breathing (ventilation) and circulation (perfusion). The procedure involves inhaled and injected radioactive tracers to show airflow and blood flow in the lungs. The scan can detect blood clots and damage to blood vessels.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry First Health PPO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • DIKLA
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • EHN PPO
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • FCCI WC
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Seasons Hospice
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care