February 2nd, 2018

Pulmonary Hypertension: Diagnosis, Symptoms and Treatment

Pulmonary arterial hypertension—a progressive, life-threatening, debilitating form of pulmonary hypertension—is high blood pressure of the lungs due to narrowing of the pulmonary arteries. It forces the right side of the heart to pump so hard to move blood into the lungs that it can lead to heart failure.

Symptoms are non-specific and include shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain. Because patients may go months, sometimes years, believing they have something other than pulmonary hypertension, most patients are ultimately diagnosed with an advanced form of the disease according to the PHA. But early and accurate diagnosis, quality care and appropriate treatments can extend and improve the quality of life for many patients.

Sentara Heart Hospital’s Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic, as part of the Sentara Advanced Heart Failure Center, has achieved accreditation from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) after demonstrating expert care for patients living with a complex, often misdiagnosed, life-threatening disease. Sentara was a participant in the Regional Clinical Program (RCP) pilot program, designed as part of the expansion of PHA’s Pulmonary Hypertension Care Centers (PHCC) Program

Conclusion of the RCP pilot has laid solid groundwork towards meeting the PHCC program goals of providing increased access for pulmonary hypertension patients to high-quality care and fostering collaboration between regional treatment sites and those receiving PHA’s Center of Comprehensive Care (CCC)-accreditation.

With the addition of Sentara, and two other pulmonary hypertension clinics located in California and Connecticut, 50 programs in 27 states across the U.S. have earned accreditation from PHA since it launched the quality improvement initiative less than three years ago.