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Pulmonary Hypertension

Can sleep apnea cause pulmonary hypertension?

04/08/2008

Question:

I have been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. I am 33 year old female and had a Echocardiogram for shortness of breath at night, while sleeping. My echocardiogram showed my pressure at 40mmhg and some mild hypertrophy of the right ventricle. I was 80 pds overweight but started working out and have lost 20 pds in the last 3 months. I do not have any problem with sob during exercise, in fact I have started jogging and am doing well. Do you think this is sleep apnea and it will be reversible. My next step is a PFT and sleep study. I am also dextrocardic, would that be reason to worry?

Answer:

Obstructive sleep apnea can be associated with pulmonary hypertension, although it's unclear if that is the case for you as you have tests pending. The sleep study will determine if you do have sleep apnea. Treatment of sleep apnea is probably associated with an improvement in pulmonary hypertension although this remains an area of active research.

The dextrocardia is unlikely to be related to the pulmonary hypertension unless it is associated with some other congenital heart disease.

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Response by:

Douglas W Haden, MD Douglas W Haden, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University