The recent death of singer Natalie Cole from complications of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) has raised many questions about this rare lung disease.
- Approximately 25 to 50 people per million have pulmonary arterial hypertension.
- The condition predominantly affects women in their 40s and 50s. In fact, women diagnosed with PAH outnumber men with the condition 3:1.
- Shortness of breath is the most common symptom. Others include lightheadedness, fatigue, chest pain and lower extremity edema.
- Diagnosis is typically suspected based on an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) and confirmed with a right heart catheterization.
- Approximately 13 FDA-approved therapies exist to treat and manage the condition (most developed in the last two decades).
- The mortality rate for PAH is approximately 10 percent per year. It is important to be diagnosed early and to be seen at a specialty center where specialists and your local physician can work together.
- Pulmonary arterial hypertension can have no known cause, can be genetic, can be caused by drugs or toxins or can occur because of an underlying disease or issue, including:
- Pulmonary hypertension is also a common complication of other disorders, including left heart disease, lung disease and sleep-disordered breathing. Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension is caused by blood clots in the lungs.
Take the next step:
- Read about a U-M patient’s experience with pulmonary hypertension.
- Find out more about pulmonary arterial hypertension.
The University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.