Pulmonary hypertension refers to increase in resistance of pulmonary vessels which may occur because of the right ventricle. When there is increased pressure in right ventricle, this would be directly visible in the pulmonary artery. As the right heart pressure increases, pulmonary hypertension becomes evident.
Can You Fly If You Have Pulmonary Hypertension?
The main problem which is encountered as patient moves from lower altitude to higher altitude is the change in oxygen level. There is a decrease in oxygen level of the blood. And thus a person may suffer from hypoxia. And there is an increase in carbon dioxide as well which causes an increase in pulmonary pressure thus increasing the resistance further. If there is a rapid rise in pulmonary pressure there are chances that patient may lend up into cardiac failure or pulmonary edema.
As such no such cases have been observed, but still to be on the safer side one which pulmonary hypertension should not travel via air. They should avoid such traveling and rather prefer road journeys. The person in who live at an increased altitude there is an increase in resistance such patient is called “thin air”. Usually, such kind of person when exposed to such kind of situation should take a lot of precaution while traveling next time.
The oxygen depletion and carbon dioxide excess, which causes vasospasm to lead to pulmonary hypertension. The patients of pulmonary hypertension usually are not affected but there are chances of increasing resistance of pulmonary artery in such patient.
Pulmonary hypertension can also be exacerbated by stress, dry air and humidity so special care should be taken. So, overall the condition does not precipitate in the usual scenario, but it can the precipitate if a proper measure is not taken. The most important one include primary prevention.
So a person can travel via air but to be a safer side avoid air traveling as much as possible, but if in case you are traveling make sure to take medications so as to prevent yourself from a number of complications then you might face during the journey. So, pulmonary hypertension should be treated appropriately as it can cause death if not timely diagnosed and treated.
It is better to get treated early than to wait for the worst to happen. Medication is the measure which can prevent a person from progressing into severe disease. The last resort if medication fails is the lung transplant. Lung transplant is to be done only on those pulmonary hypertension patients in whom prostacyclin is not responding and the person is presenting with right heart symptoms.
So, overall conclusion is that one can travel, but one should not travel to play safe. So it is a matter of choice but professional advice should be given to each and every pulmonary hypertension patient. Rest choice lies in the hands of the patient.
This disease which is reversible but at times may present so suddenly that it is quite difficult for the clinician for managing such patients. When associated with right heart failure the risk doubles up. Therefore, proper medication should be taken. Prior to medication pulmonary artery catheterization should be tried. When catheterization is appropriate then medical treatment can be started.
Medications for Pulmonary Hypertension
The drug of choice for pulmonary hypertension is calcium channel blocker, which is a potent vasodilator should be used if it decreases the mean pressure by 40 mmHg after catheterization. The main action is it causes vasodilation and hence reduces the resistance.
Another drug for pulmonary hypertension which can be given in emergency situation is prostacyclin, which is given by intravenous route. The only problem is that it should be given by central vein and in patients of shock; it is quite difficult to identify veins so it poses a challenge in part of the clinician.
Prostacyclin is efficacious drug and reduces the resistance. There are other drugs like iloprost, which is given by inhalation route.
Sildenafil is another vasodilation which can be even used in because of its vasodilation action.
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