Pulmonary hypertension – causes and diagnosis
Pulmonary hypertension is a condition that refers to increased blood pressure in the blood vessels in the lungs due to narrowing and / or blockage. This puts strain on the heart as it pumps blood through the lungs.It can happen for many reasons starting from rare causes such as genetic alterations through to more common conditions such as blood clots which have not gone away after an episode of pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary hypertension may also occur in the context of many chronic respiratory and cardiac conditions. Symptoms typically include breathlessness, chest tightness, increased fluid retention and when more serious, exertional dizziness or blackouts.Pulmonary hypertension requires a fairly comprehensive set of tests including imaging, lung function & exercise testing and cardiac catheterisation to determine the cause and define treatment. In the UK, only specialists from specific institutions are permitted to prescribe treatments for pulmonary hypertension.