Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic

The Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic at Community Heart and Vascular provides skilled diagnosis and individual treatment plans to people with pulmonary hypertension.

Our physicians and care team have special expertise and interest in pulmonary hypertension, and are dedicated to the evaluation, treatment and care of patients with pulmonary hypertension. An expert cardiologist, Jennifer Davel, MD, and pulmonologistĀ lead a dedicated team including a pulmonary hypertension coordinator, social workers, nutritionists and advanced practice nurses. We collaborate closely with the departments of cardiothoracic surgery, specialists in sleep medicine, infectious disease, nephrology and rheumatology. As a result, our patients receive the most comprehensive, timely care as well as benefit from the best treatment options available for pulmonary hypertension.

To schedule an appointment for pulmonary hypertension, please call 317-621-8500.

What is Pulmonary Hypertension?

Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart. It is different from regular high blood pressure. Pulmonary hypertension begins when the small arteries in your lungs, called pulmonary arteries, and capillaries become narrowed, blocked or destroyed. This makes it harder for blood to flow through your lungs, and raises pressure within your lungs' arteries. As the pressure builds, your heart's lower right chamber (right ventricle) must work harder to pump blood through your lungs, eventually causing your heart muscle to weaken and eventually fail.

Pulmonary hypertension is a serious illness that becomes progressively worse and can lead to right heart failure. Although pulmonary hypertension isn't curable except in certain scenarios, treatments are available that can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

Any of these conditions can lead to high blood pressure in your lungs:

  • Family history of pulmonary hypertension
  • Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and other autoimmune diseases
  • HIV
  • Congestive heart failure
  • A heart defect from birth
  • Illegal drug use
  • Portal hypertension
  • Blood clots in the lungs
  • Lung diseases like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or pulmonary fibrosis
  • Sleep apnea

Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension can mimic many other conditions. The most common symptom; shortness of breath, usually starts slowly and gets worse as time goes on. You may notice that you can't do some of the things you used to without getting winded. Other symptoms include:

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Passing out
  • Swelling in your ankles and legs

There are several tests that need to be performed to appropriately diagnose you with pulmonary hypertension including blood, lung and heart tests. After you're diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, doctors work with you and the coordinator in the pulmonary hypertension clinic to develop an appropriate treatment plan for your condition. Your treatment plan may involve complex medical therapies such as medications administered orally, inhaled medications and medications delivered through continuous intravenous (IV) and subcutaneous infusion.

A coordinator will provide you with comprehensive education about your medication management and explain what to do if you experience complications. The pulmonary hypertension clinic team will work together to manage and help prevent complications of your condition.