Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a high blood pressure condition which affects the right side of the heart and affects the arteries in the lungs. It is when the tiny arteries known as pulmonary arterioles in the lungs become narrow or blocked. Due to this the blood flow to the lungs gets restricted and there is immense pressure exerted within the arteries in the lungs. When this happens, there is lot of pressure and this leads to the right chamber of the heart to pump blood much harder leading to weakening of the heart muscles. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a condition which might become more serious over time. Although not curable, the treatment options used commonly help to reduce the symptoms of the condition and allow the person to live a healthy life.
In some cases there is no evidence of what leads to high blood pressure condition in the lungs, such a case is known as idiopathic pulmonary hypertension. In other cases, hypertension is caused due to a serious of reasons such as;
• Congestive heart failure (CHF)
• Blood clot
• Illegal drug consumption
• Liver problems
• Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis
• Heart defects which occur since birth
• Sleep apnea
Although one may not seem to have any symptoms, shortness of breath is a classical indicator. Usually the condition starts as a mild symptom but the symptoms worsen over time. Other symptoms which commonly can be observed are;
• Fatigue or tiredness
• Chest pain
• Swelling of ankles, legs and abdomen
• Bluish color of lips and skin
• Heart palpitations
• Racing pulse
• Passing out
There is no known cure for pulmonary arterial hypertension. One can only manage the condition. There are treatment options which will help to reduce the symptoms. The treatment options are often complex and it takes time for the effect of the drugs to show. Only medications and surgery seem to work in people suffering due to pulmonary arterial hypertension. The treatment options are as follows.
These medications help to open the narrow blood vessels to increase blood flow. Most commonly used vasodilator is epoprostenol (Flolan, Veletri) which is usually given as IV. Another drug used is iloprost (Ventavis) which is an inhaled drug and Treprostinil (Remodulin) which can be given either as an inhaled or oral dosage form.
• Endothelin receptor antagonist
These medications work by reversing the effect of endothelin which is responsible for narrowing the blood vessels. The medicines commonly prescribed are bosentan (Tracleer) and ambrisentan (Letairis)
• Sildenafil Citrate
Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra 100mg, Revatio) are alternatively used for treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. These drugs work by increasing Nitric Oxide, increasing the production of cGMP and by dilating the blood vessels which carry blood to different parts of the body, thus increasing flow of blood.
• High dose calcium channel blockers
These medications help by relaxing the muscles in the walls of the blood vessels. Commonly used medication is amlodipine (Norvasc) diltiazen (Cardizem).
These are commonly taken to help prevent formation of blood clots within the arteries. Commonly used anticoagulant is warfarin (Jantoven).
This medication helps to eliminate the excess fluid in the body which also help to reduce the pressure on the heart and prevent fluid build-up in the lungs.
Help the heart to beat in a stronger manner and to help pump more blood.
• Atrial sepstostomy