Heart & Vascular
Pulmonary Hypertension Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) is a serious blood vessel disorder of the lungs that can become progressively worse, even fatal, if not properly treated. It can develop on its own or it can stem from several diseases and common conditions like congestive heart failure (CHF) or emphysema. If you have pulmonary hypertension, it's important that you get appropriate care to treat your symptoms and have a better quality of life.

St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Pulmonary Hypertension Program's team of cardiologists provide specialized care for your diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension and have extensive experience in diagnosing, evaluating and treating pulmonary vascular disease. We create a treatment plan most appropriate for your condition. Your treatment plan may involve complex medical therapies such as medications administered orally, inhaled medications and medications delivered through continuous intravenous (IV) infusion.

St. Luke’s Pulmonary Hypertension Program offers the most effective treatments available to improve your pulmonary hypertension and even reverse some of the damage to the lungs and heart.

Treatment Options


Oral medications may be prescribed to help your heart pump blood, reduce excess fluid that puts pressure on your heart, and thin your blood to prevent blood clots. Intravenous (IV) medications can be effective in treating the blood vessel scarring that causes pulmonary arterial hypertension and in providing relief from chest pain and shortness of breath. Inhaled medications have often been shown to be the most effective treatment.

Pulmonary Thromboendarterectomy (PTE)

A procedure to remove blood clots from the arteries in your lungs to help you breathe easier.

Lung or Heart-Lung Transplant

If your lungs and/or heart have been damaged by pulmonary hypertension, you may need a transplant.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Our experts often recommend patients participate in Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation to help boost their lung function, improve symptoms, and help keep their pulmonary hypertension in control. St. Luke’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation consists of supervised exercise, education, and medical management. The program also provides the tools needed to exercise, eat right, quit smoking, lose weight, and make other lifestyle changes.


Exams and Tests

Blood Tests

Blood tests to measure your blood oxygen levels, liver and kidney function, and other important indicators help us determine whether you have pulmonary hypertension and what treatments might be helpful for you.

Chest X-ray

Images of your lungs can reveal signs of pulmonary hypertension, including enlarged arteries and scarring.


An ultrasound probe is moved over the surface of your chest to capture moving images of your heart. This allows us to determine your heart’s chamber dimensions, shape, valve structures, and overall function. It also allows us to measure the pressure inside the right chamber of your heart.


Small electrodes are placed on your skin to record your heart’s electrical impulses. The tracings help us evaluate your heart function and identify your risk for or prior heart muscle damage.

Cardiac Catheterization

A narrow, flexible tube called a catheter is threaded through a blood vessel to your heart to diagnose pulmonary hypertension and determine if it has caused damage to your heart muscle.

Lung Function Tests

Measure how much air your lungs can hold, how much air moves in and out of your lungs, and your lungs’ ability to exchange oxygen.

Nuclear Lung Scan

Creates an image of air and blood flow in your lungs. Also used to identify blood clots in your lungs that may contribute to your condition.