Dr. Omar P. Haqqani, MD FACS is currently the Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at the Vascular Health Clinics. He has a keen interest in understanding and addressing vascular conditions. In a self-published article in Our Midland, Dr. Haqqani unpacked some of the more recent research in the field of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Throughout the article, Dr. Haqqani not only provides an overview of this research, but also gives details about what PAH is.
Dr. Haqqani explains that PAH is one of five forms of pulmonary hypertension. Currently, no cure exists for this condition. However, there are available treatment options. These include certain medications which help the lungs to dilate. Additionally, research has found diagnostic measures like oxygen monitors.
Medical research has allowed these treatments and diagnostic measures to be discovered, tested, and evaluated. More importantly, the onset of many of these treatment options has significantly improved patient outcomes. Dr. Haqqani refers to an article published in JAMA in April 2022. Within this article, the researchers explain that the 5-year survival rate for patients nearly doubled when comparing outcomes in 1991 to 2015. Additionally, shares Dr. Haqqani, researchers are working to develop specific treatment options to reduce lung damage in PAH. Ultimately, this research is what has spurred advancements in the field.
Learn more about Dr. Haqqani.
About Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a chronic and progressive form of high blood pressure in the lungs. Normally, the pressure within the pulmonary arteries is 14mm HG (at rest). However, patients with PAH experience 25mm HG (at rest). This may occur when pulmonary arteries narrow or become blocked, causing the heart to work harder and less oxygenated blood to be distributed throughout the body. As a result, patients have hardened or thickened pulmonary arteries, as well as a weakened heart muscle.
But what causes PAH? BMPR2 gene mutations play a role in some cases. In other cases, PAH may result from liver or lung diseases, sickle cell disease (SCD), HIV, drug use, congenital heart disease or congestive heart failure, being obese, a family history of blood clots, or autoimmune diseases. Typically, PAH affects those between the ages of 30 to 60. It is 2x more common in females than males.
Symptoms associated with PAH can include:
- Chest pain
- Swelling of the lower extremities
- Fainting or dizziness
- Heart palpitations
- A bluish tinge on fingers and lips
- Shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing which worsens during exertion