Pulmonary hypertension: how the radiologist can help

Radiographics. 2012 Jan-Feb;32(1):9-32. doi: 10.1148/rg.321105232.


Pulmonary hypertension is defined as an abnormal elevation of pressure in pulmonary circulation, with a mean pulmonary arterial pressure higher than 25 mmHg, regardless of the underlying mechanism. The clinical classification system for pulmonary hypertension was updated at the fourth World Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension in Dana Point, California, in 2008. In patients with suspected pulmonary hypertension, the diagnostic approach includes four stages: suspicion, detection, classification, and functional evaluation. It is crucial to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the different imaging tools available for the diagnostic work-up and follow-up of patients with pulmonary hypertension. Many conditions that cause pulmonary hypertension have suggestive findings at multidetector computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging; some causes may be surgically treatable, whereas others may demonstrate adverse reactions to vasodilator therapies used during the course of treatment. Therefore, the radiologist plays an important role in evaluating patients with this disease. Supplemental material available at http://radiographics.rsna.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1148/rg.321105232/-/DC1.

MeSH terms

  • Angiography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Image Enhancement / methods*