Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a rare but severe lung disease in which patients experience high blood pressure in the lungs. The disorder affects the pulmonary arteries, which are the blood vessels responsible for transporting blood from the heart to the lungs. As the pulmonary arteries become narrowed and thickened, the heart needs to work harder to properly pump the blood through the right heart ventricle, which can result in enlargement and weakening of the heart, right heart failure, and death.
There are different causes of pulmonary hypertension, but not all of them are fully understood. The most common symptoms include shortness of breath (dyspnea), fatigue, dizziness or fainting spells (syncope), pressure or pain in the chest, swelling (edema) in the ankles, legs and abdomen (ascites), a bluish color in the lips and skin (cyanosis) and irregular heart beat. Pulmonary hypertension lifespan and survival depend on numerous factors and is not exact.
Prognosis After Pulmonary Hypertension Diagnosis
Pulmonary hypertension is a progressive disease, which means that it worsens as time advances, quickly or slowly depending on the patient and characteristics of the disease. There is currently no cure for the disease, but treatments exist to help ease symptoms and prolong lifespan. When untreated, pulmonary patients face a poor prognosis, estimated at 2.8 years. The probability of survival for untreated patients is 68% f0r one year after the onset of the disease, which drops to 48% after three years and to 34% after five years, according to the Ohio State University Lung Center.
But recent research demonstrates that pulmonary hypertension lifespan has increased to an average of seven years. The most common reasons for pulmonary hypertension-related deaths are right heart failure or congestive heart failure, severe bronchitis, autoimmune diseases, congenital malformations, chronic lower respiratory disease, and emphysema.
Evolution Of Pulmonary Hypertension Lifespan
Pulmonary hypertension was first diagnosed in 1891, but it was not until 1994 that the first treatment for the disease was discovered. When the medication Flolan was commercialized, it meant more encouraging outcomes for patients with pulmonary hypertension. Previous to the launch of the drug, patients would succumb to the disease about three years after onset. Diagnosis took an average of two years.
The development of new drugs to treat pulmonary hypertension resulted in an immediate increase of lifespan to about five years and later to seven years. It also brought improved of quality of life. During the past 20 years, the outlook of pulmonary hypertension has gone from no treatments at all to more than 10 approved medications. Patients who undergo lung transplant also face better prospects. But some factors negatively impact the disease.
Factors That Impact Pulmonary Hypertension Lifespan
Pulmonary hypertension lifespan, treatment and survival is closely related to the subtype and stage of disease.
The study “Prognostic Factors in Pulmonary Hypertension” analyzed variables that influence the progress of PH and demonstrated that despite the greater prevalence of the disease among women, gender does not impact survival.
On the other hand, age is an important factor for survival. The average age at death is 64.72 years.
Almost 7% of the patients in the study developed congenital heart defects. Suffering from other conditions is known to increase mortality and reduce quality of life.
The study indicated a higher mortality among patients with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension (when the cause of the disease is not known), over primary or secondary pulmonary hypertension. Proper treatment that focuses on the underlying cause of the disease largely improves lifespan.
A sedentary lifestyle, living in high altitudes and being pregnant typically impact the health of the heart and lung which affects pulmonary hypertension lifespan.
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