Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension - Diagnosis & Treatment

How is pulmonary arterial hypertension diagnosed?

Your doctor will first conduct a physical examination and assess your medical history. Your doctor may also recommend the following diagnostic tests:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Computerised Tomography (CT) scan of your lungs to detect any abnormal condition.
  • Lung function tests to assess how well your lungs are working through breathing tests.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG), which shows the electrical activity of the heart and detects signs of strain on the right side of the heart.
  • Echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart to check the size and condition of your heart chambers, and estimate the blood pressure in your lung arteries.
  • Right heart catheterisation, an invasive procedure that involves inserting a catheter (small tube) into your vein to reach the right side of your heart and pulmonary artery. This procedure measures the blood pressure in your lungs.

How is pulmonary arterial hypertension treated?

Your doctor will recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and medication to manage your condition.

Lifestyle changes

Although pulmonary arterial hypertension cannot be cured, proper treatment can slow the progression of the disease and improve your quality of life. To improve your condition, consider:

  • Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke.
  • Consuming a healthy diet and limiting your salt intake.
  • Vaccinating yourself against influenza and pneumococcal disease.
  • Avoiding hot tubs or saunas, as well as travelling to high altitudes.
  • Avoiding pregnancy as it can strain your body and be life-threatening.
  • Avoiding strenuous activities that put too much strain on your lungs and heart. Discuss this with your doctor to come up with a safe exercise plan.

Medication and treatments

Your doctor may also prescribe:

  • Oral anticoagulation to prevent blood clots from forming.
  • Oral medications that prevent blood vessels from narrowing, to enable your lungs to relax and blood vessels to dilate.
  • Oxygen therapy to increase the amount of oxygen in the lungs and relax the arteries in the lungs. You may need a portable oxygen tank.
  • Intravenous or subcutaneous treatments that open up blood vessels and ease symptoms.
  • Inhaled treatments that relieve shortness of breath.
  • Diuretics to reduce fluid retention and swelling.

Speak to our cardiologists to start your personalised treatment plan.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.

Need help?

For enquiries, please call
+65 6250 0000 (Orchard) or +65 6898 6898 (Novena)

For appointment bookings, please WhatsApp
+65 8111 7777 (Orchard) or +65 8111 5777 (Novena)