Pulmonary vascular disorders

Heart and lung disorders

HCA UK can diagnose and treat a range of heart and lung disorders

About

Pulmonary vascular disease (PVD) is a condition that affects the blood vessels in the pulmonary arteries and pulmonary vein between the heart and lungs. As a result, there is abnormal blood flow and the rest of the body can be affected as the disease progresses.

There are two main PVD disorders: pulmonary embolism and pulmonary hypertension.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of pulmonary vascular disorders icon plus

    The most common symptoms of pulmonary vascular disease are:

    • breathlessness
    • tiredness and fatigue
    • chest pain
    • cough

    Pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs as a result of a blood clot in the pelvis or legs, which can break off and travel to the pulmonary arteries, restricting blood flow. Pulmonary hypertension is mainly caused by a person’s genes or an existing condition. It causes the walls of the pulmonary arteries to become thick and stiff and blood flow is reduced, causing high blood pressure. PVD results in high blood pressure in the lungs, making the right side of the heart work harder. This can eventually lead to right-sided heart failure.

  • Diagnosis icon plus

    If you have any of the symptoms above, you should urgently see your GP or consultant. They will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. Diagnosing PVD can take time if the symptoms are similar to other heart or lung conditions. Tests your GP or consultant may recommend include: - physical examination of your heart, lungs, ankles and legs - heart scan (echocardiogram) to test how well your heart is working - right heart catheterisation, which involves a thin, flexible tube being inserted into your pulmonary artery to measure blood pressure - D-dimer test (a special blood test to detect loose pieces of blood clot in your blood stream)
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Treatment options for PVD depend on the extent of the condition, whether any blood clots have entered your bloodstream, and your general health. These might include:

    • Anticoagulant medicine injections for up to five days. Anticoagulant tablets will then need to be taken for at least three months.
    • Surgery to remove the clot (pulmonary endarterectomy).
    • Oxygen treatment to increase oxygen levels in the blood.
    • Medicines that slow the progression of pulmonary hypertension and reverse damage to the heart and lungs.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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