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IAC

Pulmonary hypertension (elevated pressure in the lungs and right side of the heart)

  • Definition: 
    • Pulmonary hypertension is a condition characterized by elevated pressures within the lungs and right side of the heart.  The significance of pulmonary hypertension is that in its advanced stages it may cause increased size involving the atria (upper heart chambers) and right ventricle (right sided heart pumping chamber which functions in delivering and oxygenated blood to the lungs).  These structural alterations in the right side of the heart result in an increase tendency for heart rhythm disorders to occur.
  • Prevention:
    • Maintain an ideal body weight
    • Treat emphysema, asthma, and chronic bronchitis immediately
    • Discuss with your physician if you become notable for any heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Treatment:
    • Blood vessel dilators (vasodilators). Vasodilators open narrowed blood vessels.
    • High-dose calcium channel blockers. These drugs help relax the muscles in the walls of your blood vessels. They include medications such as amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac) and nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia). Although calcium channel blockers can be effective, only a small number of people with pulmonary hypertension respond to them.
    • Anticoagulants. Your doctor is likely to prescribe the anticoagulant warfarin (Coumadin) to help prevent the formation of blood clots within the small pulmonary arteries.
    • Diuretics. Commonly known as water pills, these medications help eliminate excess fluid from your body. This reduces the amount of work your heart has to do. They also may be used to limit fluid buildup in your lungs.
    • Oxygen. Your doctor may suggest that you sometimes breathe pure oxygen, a treatment known as oxygen therapy, to help treat pulmonary hypertension, especially if you live at a high altitude or have sleep apnea. Some people with pulmonary hypertension eventually require constant oxygen therapy.

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Leonard J.Scuderi, M.D., F.A.C.C.
Cardiologist and Cardiovascular Disease Specialist
CardioFit Medical Group, Inc.
23456 Hawthorne Blvd, Suite 250
Torrance, CA   90505
Phone 310-791-5577
Fax 310-791-
5575