If you or a loved one experience shortness of breath, chest pain or unexplained fatigue, then make an appointment with your doctor. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing cardiac conditions, including pulmonary hypertension. We will provide an expert diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan.
Diagnosing Pulmonary Hypertension
Your doctor will begin the diagnosis by asking you about your symptoms and your medical and family history. We will also perform a thorough physical examination.
Other diagnostic procedures include:
- Laboratory tests - We may recommend you undergo laboratory testing:
- Blood tests, to determine if HIV, infections or autoimmune diseases are contributing to your pulmonary hypertension
- Exercise testing, during which you exercise in a laboratory while we measure your oxygen levels and heart function
- Imaging tests - We use the most advanced imaging technology available. These procedures provide us with a detailed picture of your lungs, heart and arteries. We can determine if there are abnormalities in your heart or lung function. Imaging tests include:
- Echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart, shows us how the heart is functioning
- Computed tomography (CT) scan can show us if the pulmonary arteries are enlarged
- Ventilation-perfusion scan (V/Q scan), a nuclear medicine test, identifies blood clots in the lungs
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) can show strain on the right side of the heart
- Chest X-ray can't diagnose pulmonary hypertension, but can tell us if there are other heart or lung conditions.
- Right heart catheterization - Although imaging scans and laboratory tests can help us diagnose pulmonary hypertension, we need to perform right heart catheterization to confirm the diagnosis. This procedure allows us to measure directly the blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries. During right heart catheterization:
- We insert a catheter into the large vein in your neck, called the jugular vein, and advance it to the right side of the heart.
- Using a pressure monitor on the catheter, we measure the pressure in your heart and pulmonary arteries.
- We inject a medicine through the catheter to determine if the arteries are stiffer than they should be.
Pulmonary Hypertension: Treatment
Once we obtain an accurate diagnosis, The University of Vermont Medical Center physicians will create your individualized treatment plan. In most cases, we are able to identify the cause of pulmonary hypertension. The treatment will depend on the specific cause. Treatment options include medicine and surgery. Learn more about pulmonary hypertension treatment.
For more information call 802-847-4600.