Why does my doctor think that I might have PH?

Your doctor may suspect that you have PH for many reasons. It could be because of:

  • Your symptoms
  • Abnormal findings during physical examination of your body
  • Abnormal results on a medical test, such as chest x-ray, electrocardiogram, or breathing tests (also known as pulmonary function tests = PFTs)

Signs of PH on chest x-ray include:

  • Enlargement of the pulmonary arteries
  • Enlargement of the right ventricle (RV) of the heart

Signs of PH on electrocardiogram (also known as ECG or EKG) include:

  • Thickening of the muscle (also known as hypertrophy) of the RV of the heart
  • Large right atrium (RA) of the heart and large RV of heart
  • Shift of the heart’s electrical axis to the right (also known as right axis deviation)
  • Defective conduction of the electricity through the right side of the heart (also known as right bundle branch block = RBBB)

Signs of PH on breathing tests (also known as Pulmonary Function Tests = PFTs):

  • Reduced lung diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLco)
  • Reduced blood oxygen levels

Abnormal results on an ultrasound test of your heart (also known as echocardiogram = ECHO) may suggest PH:

  • Increased speed of blood leaking through the tricuspid valve (also known as tricuspid regurgitation)
  • Increased systolic blood pressure in the RV (also known as RV systolic pressure = RVSP)
  • Enlargement of the RV and RA
  • Thickening of the muscle of the RV (also known as RV hypertrophy)
  • The presence of weakness or poor pumping ability of the RV (also known as RV failure)
  • Pericardial effusion (excessive fluid in the pericardial sac around the heart)

PH can be directly measured during catheterization of the heart (also known as pulmonary artery catheterization = right-heart catheterization).

  • Abnormally high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery (also known as pulmonary artery pressure = PAP)
  • Abnormally high resistance to the flow of blood through the pulmonary arteries (also known as pulmonary vascular resistance = PVR)
  • Reduced flow of blood through the heart (known as decreased cardiac output)

In your specific case, this is a question you should discuss with your doctor.

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

Echocardiogram (ECHO)

Pulmonary Artery Catheterization