Pulmonary hypertension is a serious and unrelenting pulmonary vascular disorder that affects the functional quality of patients and significantly decreases their life span. If diagnosed early, with the number of new therapeutic options that are available, a better quality of life can be provided for a protracted length of time. It is likely that the available treatment will change the natural course of the disease and perhaps prolong survival. As symptoms are often subtle in the early stages of the disease it is imperative that physicians are aware of the manifestations of this condition. A thorough investigation of patients suspected of this condition is essential so that appropriate treatment can be initiated promptly. The routine workup of a patient suspected to have pulmonary hypertension could easily be carried out in any well-equipped peripheral hospital in many affluent and advanced countries. However, it must be mentioned that in some less advanced countries the necessary work up can only be done in major teaching hospitals. Both pulmonologists and cardiologists should be aware of the pathophysiology of pulmonary arterial hypertension, the workup and the treatment options that are available. Patients with refractory pulmonary hypertension should be referred to these research centers for enrolment into any ongoing drug trials as well as for evaluation for heart-lung, single lung, or double lung transplantation. This paper is primarily aimed at pulmonologists and cardiologists taking care of these patients. Unless indicated otherwise this paper mainly deals with WHO group 1 pulmonary hypertension which is designated pulmonary arterial hypertension. Extensive review of the literature spanning the last 30 years was made through Medline using titles such as primary pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary arterial hypertension, secondary pulmonary hypertension, and pulmonary vascular diseases.
Keywords: Idiopathic pulmonary hypertension; primary pulmonary hypertension pulmonary arterial hypertension; pulmonary hypertension; pulmonary vascular diseases; secondary pulmonary hypertension.