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Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension

05/08/2008

Question:

I am a 44 year old female. I have been feeling tire and having shourtness of breath. I had an echo done and my systolic pylmonary artery pressure came back at 41. The doctor asked me see a cardiologist, but told me this might be nothing to worry about. The info I find states this is high. Can you please clear this up for me. Thanks.

Answer:

An echocardiogram is a good place to start when a patient is short of breath. It provides us with a lot of information about the function of the heart, and we are able to get an estimation of the pulmonary artery pressures. It is only an estimation, however, and the result can be affected by a number of factors. To determine if this is a significant problem, you will likely need additional testing such as pulmonary function tests, exercise testing, and a cardiac catheterization. Additionally, your echocardiogram will need to be reviewed in detail to look for other forms of heart disease. The diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension can only be made by cardiac catheterization. Therefore, it is hard to know what the value obtained from your echo really means.

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Response by:

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