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The Management of Primary Pulmonary Hypertension

Harold I. Palevsky, MD; Alfred P. Fishman, MD
JAMA. 1991;265(8):1014-1020. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460080084038.
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Primary pulmonary hypertension is a clinical syndrome characterized by pulmonary hypertension in the absence of sufficient underlying cardiac, parenchymal pulmonary, or systemic disease to account for it. The population of patients with primary pulmonary hypertension is a heterogeneous one, both clinically and histologically. As the etiologic mechanisms are unknown, therapy is directed toward the consequences of the pulmonary vascular process. Oxygen supplementation, the use of digoxin and diuretics for symptomatic heart failure, and anticoagulation all may have a role in treating primary pulmonary hypertension, although vasodilator therapy has been the main area of investigation. Screening for vasodilator responsiveness, defining a favorable vasodilator effect, predicting long-term effectiveness, and deciding who to treat have all been controversial. New approaches, such as use of high-dose calcium channel-blocking agents and continuous intravenous infusion of prostacyclin (an investigational agent), have recently been proposed. When medical therapies are exhausted, heart-lung or lung transplantation has increasingly become an option for selected patients.

(JAMA. 1991;265:1014-1020)


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