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Primary Pulmonary Hypertension

Primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) is a rare lung disorder in which the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery rises far above normal levels for no obvious reason.

Some common symptoms of PPH include:

• Fatigue
• Fainting
• Weakness
• Hyperventilation
• Lightheadedness
• Chest pain under the sternum
• Build-up of fluid in the legs and abdomen
• Progressive shortness of breath with activity

If PPH is suspected, the doctor will perform a physical exam and look for enlargement of the veins in the neck, enlargement of the liver and fluid retention. The doctor might also order additional tests such as an ECG, a chest x-ray, an echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization, a lung scan, or a pulmonary arteriogram.

Since there is no known cure for PPH, treatment focuses on controlling the symptoms. Many individuals respond to treatment with vasodilators while others may respond to diuretics and calcium channel blockers.

As the disease advances, oxygen may be necessary for shortness of breath. Heart-lung transplants for appropriate candidates have been successful, as well.

Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of Primary pulmonary hypertension. Only he or she can conduct the appropriate tests to obtain an accurate diagnosis and treatment options.

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