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November 13, 2012

Can You Recognize PH?

Pulmonary Hypertension and a new initiative to build awareness of the condition is one of the topics being discussed at the 2012 American Association or Respiratory Care (AARC) International Respiratory Congress being held this week in New Orleans. Presenting at that conference is Avery McKee, RN, BSN, RRT, Pulmonary Hypertension Coordinator, Ochsner Medical Center. Ochsner’s PH program, part of the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, provides diagnosis, treatment, patient support, and research.

Shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue are all common symptoms frequently seen and attributed to common diseases. However, they sometimes signal a serious, rare condition – pulmonary hypertension (PH), or high blood pressure in the blood vessels between the heart and lungs, potentially resulting in heart failure. Over 1,000 new patients are diagnosed each with PH each year, and as many as 30,000 patients are living with the diagnosis in the U.S. today.

“PH affects people of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds with risk factors that make some people more susceptible to the disease,” said McKee. “At Ochsner, we have a multi-disciplinary staff of pulmonary physicians and cardiologist who educate and care for patients diagnosed with this treatable disease. The key is to identify the diagnosis before the prognosis becomes unmanageable which can result in seriously ill and disabled patients.”

Rino Aldrighetti, president of the pulmonary hypertension association indicated that PHA's new early diagnosis initiative, Sometimes it's PH, will educate more healthcare providers about when to suspect PH, how to screen for it, and the importance of teaming up with highly specialized professionals to diagnose and treat this complex illness.

For more information on pulmonary hypertension, please visit www.ochsner.org or www.PHAssociation.org. To view a 1-minute video spot about early diagnosis of PH visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo4eSbHjUKo.



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