Psychosocial aspects of pulmonary hypertension: a review

Psychosomatics. 2007 Nov-Dec;48(6):467-75. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.48.6.467.


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is characterized by progressive and sustained elevation of pulmonary-artery pressure, which ultimately leads to right-ventricular failure and death. The diagnosis carries with it an uncertain and historically very bleak prognosis. Although new oral and chronic parenteral (intravenous and subcutaneous) treatments have had a significant positive medical impact on the physical functioning of individuals with PAH, patients often struggle with new short- and long-term psychosocial challenges. The purpose of the current article is to 1) provide a brief review of PAH and its treatment; 2) summarize the limited literature examining the psychosocial adjustment of those with a PAH diagnosis; and 3) provide pertinent information extrapolated from the larger literature on chronic illness that might inform us on the psychosocial challenges faced by the patient diagnosed with PAH.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / complications
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / psychology*
  • Male
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Palliative Care / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy