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How is pulmonary hypertension treated?

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Quick Answer

Various medications and surgical procedures treat pulmonary hypertension, states Mayo Clinic. Treatments are typically complex and may require a number of alterations to find the most effective method.

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Full Answer

Blood vessel dilators, endothelin receptor antagonists, sildenafil, tadalafil and high-dose calcium channel blockers are some of the medications used to treat pulmonary hypertension, according to Mayo Clinic. These medicines are taken intravenously, orally or via a nebulizer with the intentions of opening narrowed blood vessels in the lungs. Other medications such as anticoagulants prevent blood clot formation. Diuretics remove unneeded fluid from the body, and pure oxygen is sometimes administered to individuals who live in high altitudes or for those with sleep apnea. Common side effects of these medicines include nausea, chest pain, leg cramps, dizziness and vision issues. It is important to take these medications as prescribed to prevent severe side effects such as liver damage and bleeding complications.

Atrial septostomy treats pulmonary hypertension if medications are ineffective, explains Mayo Clinic. This is an open-heart surgery that creates an opening between the heart chambers to relieve pressure on the right side of the heart. Heart rhythm abnormalities and other serious complications are related to atrial septostomy. Transplantation is sometimes an option, especially for younger individuals with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension. Individuals who receive transplantation surgery must take immunosuppressant drugs for life to reduce the risk of rejection.

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