How is Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Diagnosed?

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Pulmonary arterial hypertension, PAH is a rare but serious type of high blood pressure. It mimics several other heart and lung conditions. It is very difficult to distinguish it but several tests and tools can help make a diagnosis.   Related FAQs:
What type of test are done to see if you have PH
Echocardiogram. Sound waves can create moving images of the beating heart. An echocardiogram can help your doctor to check the size and functioning of the right ventricle, and the thickness of the right ventricle's wall. An echocardiogram can also show how well your heart chambers and valves are working. Doctors may also use this to measure the pressure in your pulmonary arteries.
Chest X-ray. A chest X-ray can show images of your heart, lungs and chest. This test can show enlargement of the right ventricle of the heart or the pulmonary arteries, which can occur in pulmonary hypertension. This test can also be used to identify other conditions that may be causing pulmonary hypertension.
Electrocardiogram (ECG). This noninvasive test shows your heart's electrical patterns and can detect abnormal rhythms. Doctors may also be able to see signs of right ventricle enlargement or strain.
Right heart catheterization. After you've had an echocardiogram, if your doctor thinks you have pulmonary hypertension, you'll likely have a right heart catheterization. This test can often help confirm that you have pulmonary hypertension and determine the severity of your condition.

Having PAH means that you have high blood pressure in the arteries that go from your heart to your lungs. Patients may notice these symptoms: shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue and swelling in their ankles and legs. Your doctor may order tests in diagnosis, including: echocardiogram, CT scan, Chest X-ray, ventilation-perfusion scan (V/Q scan) and EKG. Treatment varies from person to person. Your doctor will treat the cause of your condition. Medications are commonly recommended. In more severe cases, your doctor may recommend a lung transplant or a procedure called atrial septostomy.