Our Approach to Treatment
Houston Methodist diagnoses and treats pulmonary hypertension as a team, with cardiologists, pulmonologists and other experts addressing the heart and lung problems associated with the disease. Our specialists have the experience to identify pulmonary hypertension, a condition so difficult to pinpoint that patients can suffer a few years before it is properly diagnosed.Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension resemble those of several other conditions, making diagnosis difficult. Patients may seek treatment from many doctors before receiving the right diagnosis at Houston Methodist. They typically are diagnosed with asthma or told they are physically unfit.
Houston Methodist Lung Center's Pulmonary Hypertension Program is one of only 13 in the nation recognized by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association as an accredited Center of Comprehensive Care for adult patients. We offer highly skilled care for those suffering from advanced pulmonary hypertension. Almost all of our patients are in heart failure when they arrive at the center for treatment. We specialize in right-heart catheterization to determine how well a patient’s heart pumps. We observe blood flow through the heart and then measure heart and lung pressure.
Pulmonary hypertension cannot be cured. However, advances in treating and managing pulmonary hypertension using medicines have improved and extended patients’ lives. We conduct and participate in innovative research, often taking the lead in clinical trials involving hospitals nationally and worldwide. We also offer our patients experimental therapies.
Additionally, chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), a serious form of pulmonary hypertension, can be treated surgically and with medicines. The Houston Methodist CTEPH Program at Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center offers specialized care to CTEPH patients.
Arteries carrying blood from the heart to the lungs narrow and restrict blood flow. Blood pressure in these arteries, called pulmonary arteries, increases and stresses the heart’s right ventricle, causing it to weaken, enlarge and develop into right heart failure.
- Shortness of breath
- Ankle, abdomen or leg swelling
- Chest and/or upper right abdomen pain
- Heart palpitations
- Lips and/or skin turning blue
- Liver disease
- Connective tissue diseases such as scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
- Congenital heart disease
- Pulmonary embolism (blood clots in lungs)
- Lung diseases such as COPD
- Left heart disease
- Sleep-related breathing disorders such as sleep apnea
- Drugs, stimulants and appetite suppressants, including cocaine, methamphetamine and the discontinued fen-phen (dexfenfluramine and phentermine)
- Unknown causes
- Right-heart catheterization
- Pulmonary function tests
- Cardiac MRI
- V/Q scan
- Blood tests
- Intravenous injections
- Lung transplant as the last resort
Our physicians at Houston Methodist specialize in managing pulmonary hypertension at the following convenient locations.