Pathophysiology of pulmonary hypertension due to lung disease

Kenneth W. Presberg, H. Erhan Dincer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) often complicates the course of patients with advanced lung disease, and it is associated with a worse prognosis. Per the recent classification of pulmonary hypertensive disorders, PH due to lung disease is considered as a separate category within a group of disorders that was previously referred to as "secondary" PH. Among the lung diseases associated with PH, the incidence and clinical course of PH is best known for patients with COPD. Per studies in patients with COPD and other lung disorders, it is evident that the pathophysiology and treatment of these disorders is generally distinct from that of pulmonary arterial hypertensive disorders. Changes in the pulmonary vasculature that accompany elevations in pulmonary vascular pressure are generally referred to as pulmonary vascular remodeling. Chronic hypoxia is well known to cause pulmonary vascular remodeling and PH, and it is the major mechanism implicated for the development of PH in patients with lung disease. Other mediators have also been implicated in the pathogenesis of PH in animal models and patients with PH, including patients with pulmonary diseases. General features of pulmonary vascular remodeling are discussed with particular emphasis on those changes that have been described in patients with lung diseases. Recent discoveries in these areas are also reviewed, and findings in pulmonary arterial hypertensive diseases are contrasted with those found in patients with PH due to lung diseases. Some of these discoveries have already led to new treatment strategies for patients with the most severe forms of PH. PH due to lung diseases shares some common pathophysiologic features with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Therefore, it is likely that these discoveries and new treatments will also be extended to benefit patients with PH due to lung disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003


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