Vasodilator Challenges

Pulmonary hypertension, which is elevated blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs, can cause shortness of breath or fluid retention (ankle swelling, for example).

Various conditions, such as lung disease, weak heart muscle, or blood clots in the lungs, can cause pulmonary hypertension. Or, it can arise from unknown causes.

Currently, there are medications that help us lower blood pressure in the lungs so that patients will feel better, but not all patients respond the same to these drugs; some people fare better than others. By using our cardiac catheterization laboratory, our group can now predict how patients will respond to these medications. And this will help us treat patients more effectively.

At UNC we use vasodilators—medications that dilate arteries and veins—as a safe and effective way to measure blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. Knowing these precise measurements helps us determine which patients will benefit from the various medications currently available to treat pulmonary hypertension.

Contact Us

Call the Heart & Vascular Center referral line at 866-862-4327 to find specialists, make an appointment or learn more about preventing heart disease.

Open Access is a new physician referral service, created by the UNC Center for Heart & Vascular Care, which coordinates all admissions and transfers through a single phone call and guarantees immediate acceptance for patients. Please contact us to learn more or call 866-862-4327.

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