Pulmonary Hypertension Diagnosis

The symptoms of pulmonary hypertension can be confused with symptoms of other diseases. In order to make a correct diagnosis, doctors must first exclude other diseases, a process called differential diagnosis. While a differential diagnosis can help point doctors in the right direction for treatment, it can take time. In some cases, diagnosing pulmonary hypertension definitively can take as long as two years.

Diagram of the Human Heart

The first step in the differential diagnosis is a detailed history and physical. Other tests will be necessary to determine if the heart and lungs are working properly. Blood tests, electrocardiograms, echocardiogram, and other non-invasive medical imaging tests are used in diagnosing pulmonary hypertension.

Electrocardiogram

The electrocardiogram, or EKG, is a non-invasive test that graphs the electrical impulses of the heart. The doctor evaluates the EKG for waveforms that suggest damage to the heart as might occur from a previous heart attack or other stress or injury to the heart.

Medical Imaging: Chest X-Ray