Pulmonary Hypertension

High blood pressure in the arteries that transport blood from the heart to the lungs – the pulmonary arteries — is referred to as pulmonary hypertension or pulmonary arterial hypertension. As the blood is pumped through the arteries in the lungs, it receives oxygen; this oxygenated blood returns to the heart, where it is then transported to the rest of the body through the aorta and other arteries. Injury or changes to the pulmonary artery can cause the artery to tighten, limiting the passage of blood, and increasing the pressure in the artery.

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) made its debut in the United States media in September 1987 when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the popular appetite suppressants fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine. The two popular diet drugs were directly linked to an increased risk of pulmonary hypertension and valvular regurgitation.

Pulmonary Hypertension

In its “primary” form, pulmonary hypertension is a rare disease that affects one to two people per million in the United States every year. The disease can be found in men, women and children, but is more likely to be found in women between the ages of 21 and 40. Most cases of pulmonary artery hypertension are “secondary,” meaning they arise as a result of some other underlying disease or factor, such as COPD or HIV.

Secondary Pulmonary Hypertension