Pulmonary Hypertension Evaluation

Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension

Symptoms could come suddenly, or develop slowly over time. Symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Blue lips or fingernails, indicating a lack of oxygen to the body
  • Tiring quickly, especially when active
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Bloating
  • Swelling in the legs or ankles
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Fainting or dizzy spells

Pulmonary Hypertension Evaluation

The doctor will do an examination, listen to your heart and lungs and your blood pressure will be taken. Other tests may be done including:

  • Blood tests: Measures certain body functions and check for infections.
  • Chest X-ray: Takes a picture of inside the chest and shows heart and lung problems.
  • An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): Records the heart's electrical activity. 
  • An echocardiogram: Uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart.
  • Pulmonary function tests: Measures breathing and lung capacity.
  • Cardiac catheterization: Gives detailed information about the heart's structures. A catheter (thin tube) is placed into a blood vessel and guided into the heart. Then certain blood pressure tests are done.

Treatment for Pulmonary Hypertension

Treatment will depend on your age, health and severity of your symptoms. Treatment may include:

  • Oxygen
  • Medication to lower the pressure in the lung blood vessels
  • Medication to help the body lose excess water
  • Medication to prevent blood clots