Clinical manifestation of HIV-related pulmonary hypertension

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In recent years, much more thought has been given to the pathogenic role of HIV and to the clinical manifestations of HIV-related pulmonary hypertension (HRPH), which currently represents one of the most severe events during HIV disease. HRPH occurs in early and late stages of HIV infection and does not seem to be related to the degree of immune deficiency. Many of the symptoms in HRPH result from right ventricular dysfunction: the first clinical manifestation is effort intolerance and exertional dyspnea that will progress to the point of breathlessness at rest. The diagnosis of HRPH can be made only after all etiologies for pulmonary hypertension have been excluded. Echocardiography has been proven to be an extremely useful tool for diagnosing HRPH, and Doppler echocardiography can be used to estimate systolic pulmonary artery pressure and to monitor the effects of therapy. Assessment of hemodynamic measures by catheterization remains, however, the best test for evaluating response to therapy. Cardiac catheterization is mandatory to characterize the disease and exclude an underlying cardiac shunt as etiology. Vasodilators have been extensively used in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension, since vasoconstriction is a determinant characteristic of this disease. However, HRPH remains a progressive disease for which treatment is often unsatisfactory and there is no cure. As new, more efficient antiretroviral treatment are introduced, clinicians should expect to encounter an increasing number of cases of pulmonary hypertension in HIV+ patients in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-235
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Echocardiography
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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