Overview of PAH

Pulmonary arteries carry blood from the lower chamber in the right side of the heart—the right ventricle—through the lungs, where the blood absorbs oxygen, to the left side of the heart where it is ejected to the rest of the body. These arteries can become diseased and result in a disorder called pulmonary hypertension (PH).

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) can occur when the pulmonary arteries are constricted or narrowed, when blood clots form in the arteries, or when the arterial walls become abnormally stiff and inflexible. This condition makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood from the right ventricle to the lungs and causes the heart to work harder than normal. There are specific treatments for this type of PH. Pulmonary venous hypertension (PVH), which occurs when there is a problem with the left side of the heart, requires treatment different from PAH.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Mar 2010

Last Modified: 01 Oct 2015