Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is unusually high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. When the pressure is raised, the right side of the heart has to work harder than normal to pump blood through the lungs. Eventually, this may result in heart failure.

Pulmonary hypertension is a serious illness that is ongoing and sometimes fatal. There is no cure for pulmonary hypertension, but many specialized treatments are now available that can improve your symptoms and quality of life.

Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension include:

  • Shortness of breath with activity or at rest
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Fainting or near fainting
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Racing heart beats
  • Swelling in the ankles, legs, belly

Our doctors and nurses are available by pager 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist patients and referring physicians.

Why Choose Us?

Experience
The Pulmonary Hypertension Program at the University of Iowa was founded in 1996, one year after the first specialized medical treatment for this disease was approved by the FDA. As dedicated physicians and nurses, we have experience caring for people throughout the entire disease process. We are aware of the complex evaluation, monitoring, and treatments needed to manage pulmonary hypertension.
Multidisciplinary Approach
Under the direction of Sif Hansdottir, MD we work as a team to provide quality care and ensure all of your needs are being met. Our team consists of pulmonologists (lung doctors) and cardiologists (heart doctors), as well as nurses, social workers, dietitians, pharmacists, and rehabilitation specialists. We will partner with your community providers to help manage your condition. 
Expert Diagnosis
Pulmonary hypertension can be difficult to diagnose and the diagnosis is often delayed. Pulmonary hypertension can be caused by many medical conditions and correctly identifying the underlying condition(s) is key to successful management. To ensure a correct diagnosis is made, we conduct an in-depth work up.
Specialized Treatment
Prior to 1995, there was no specialized medical treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension. Currently, there are several FDA approved medicines to choose from and more being studied in clinical trials. The approved medicines include pills, inhaled medications, and continuous infusions. We offer each of the FDA approved treatments and will help you decide which option is best for you.
Research
Our specialists have participated in clinical research that has resulted in the currently approved therapies. We continue to participate in clinical studies to determine how to combine current medications and to look for new treatment options. You may be eligible to participate in a trial of new therapies. Learn more about our pulmonary hypertension clinical trials.

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