Learn more about the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a disease that causes elevated blood pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs, leading to difficulty breathing and possible failure of the right side of the heart (right-ventricula r dysfunction). In many cases, early detection of high blood pressure can help prevent full-blown hypertension.
PH is defined as a mean pulmonary arterial pressure in the lungs that is greater than 25 millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Normal blood pressure in the lungs is around 15 mmHg.
PH may be idiopathic (of unknown cause), hereditary, or associated with underlying autoimmune (rheumatologic), cardiac, hepatic (liver), or pulmonary diseases.
While the evaluation of affected patients is complex, the UPMC Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Program, one of the largest in the country, offers people with PH access to state-of-the-art diagnostics, therapeutics, and opportunities to participate in clinical research.
Our specialists in cardiology, pulmonary and critical care medicine, and transplant medicine work together to ensure that the full range of medical and surgical options is available for each patient.
This unique, integrated approach to care benefits patients from the time of their initial evaluation, which can normally take place on a single day and in one location.
At your evaluation, your UPMC doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history.
Some tests may include:
Because evaluation of PH can be complicated, you may see either a heart or a lung specialist first, along with another specialist, on the same day. We take this approach to review these tests together and arrive at the right diagnosis so we can develop a proper treatment strategy.
Our level of expertise in managing the most complex cases means we can:
For patients who are not responding to medical therapy, UPMC specialists are there every step of the way with surgical options, such as lung and heart-lung transplantation.
A unique feature of our program is the Heart/Lung Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic, which offers effective, high-level evaluation and treatment of people with PH and intrinsic lung disease.
Should patients develop right-ventricular dysfunction, as can occur in the late stages of disease, combined heart-lung transplantation may be the best option. The clinic provides patients ready access to the UPMC Lung and Heart/Lung Transplantation programs, but early referral for future transplantation is recommended.
UPMC Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Program specialists are constantly investigating new ways to enhance our program with promising therapies that may help individualize future treatments for people with PH.
The program also is researching new technologies to evaluate right-heart function, and new strategies to identify and eliminate factors which delay successful treatment in patients at risk for PH, such as:
The research of Stephen Chan, MD focuses on new strategies to find the origins of pulmonary hypertension and a cure was recently profiled.Read the story
Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit www.healthwise.org
For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.
UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.
Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.
For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com