Is PH due to an infection?

In some patients, PH is due to an infection. Specific types of infection can cause PH:

  • The parasitic infection of the bowels and liver, schistosomiasis, is a very common cause of PH around the world, but is very rare in Canada
  • Infection with HIV, the virus which causes AIDS. HIV infection can lead to PAH
  • Infection with hepatitis viruses B and C, which can lead to chronic liver disease, including chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can lead to PAH

In patients with idiopathic PAH IPAH, a research study found evidence of infection with human herpes virus type 8 (HHV-8) in the lungs.

  • HHV-8 is the virus that causes Kaposi’s sarcoma, a type of blood vessel cancer, in patients with HIV infection
  • However, whether HHV-8 causes IPAH is controversial, as another study did not find evidence of HHV-8 in IPAH patients

It is important to realize that in most PH patients, PH is not due to an infection.