Pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is characterized by an increase in blood pressure in the lungs. It can be acute or chronic.

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is characterized by an increase in blood pressure in the lungs. It can be acute or chronic.

The acute form often occurs in hospitals in the intensive care unit or in the operating room. Apart from increased blood pressure in the lungs, it can be linked to the narrowing of the pulmonary vessel or heart problems. It is a life-threatening situation for the patient, and action must be taken immediately.

A proliferation of cells in the wall of the small pulmonary arteries causes chronic PH. This progressive remodeling leads to obstruction of the vessels, which increases vascular resistance in the lungs. It leads to heart and lung malfunctions, which can be fatal.

The importance of adequate treatment

A severe elevation of pulmonary arterial pressure induces a vicious circle that may lead to visceral failure, severe systemic dysfunction, and ultimately cardiogenic shock, which can be fatal.

Acute pulmonary arterial hypertension also increases risks during and after an operation.

Even though some cases of PAH are qualified as rare disorders, their occurrence is a serious concern for all healthcare organizations. Acute PAH is a true emergency and its fast and effective control is vital for patients.

What is the right treatment for APAH?

When acute pulmonary arterial hypertension (APAH) is monitored or observed in patients in an intensive care unit or operating theater, treatment must be quickly initiated. Luckily, acute pulmonary arterial hypertension is reversible. However, it requires an immediate reaction with resuscitation efforts and supportive measures aimed to improve and stabilize.

Treatment of PAH requires the following:

  • Oxygenation
  • Blood pressure management

With regards to these challenges and objectives, there are different ways with specific pulmonary vasodilator agents that are useful both to modulate pulmonary pressures and reduce heart workload, for example, inhaled nitric oxide.

Q&A

What is the priority: acute or chronic PAH?

Patients with acute pulmonary arterial hypertension are as important as chronic class IV patients, but the case is reversible.

For that reason, acute requires an immediate reaction with resuscitation efforts and supportive measures aimed to improve and first stabilize.

Can PAH be prevented?

Sometimes, with early detection and treatment of diseases or other causes, PAH can be prevented. But when PAH is already a monitored disorder, it will be treated nevertheless.

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