Pulmonary Hypertension Often Misdiagnosed

Pulmonary hypertension is a dangerous condition that causes arteries leading to the lungs to narrow, leaving less room for blood to flow. Left untreated, it can lead to heart failure, and in some cases, death. Yet a new study by Dr. Mardi Gomberg-Maitland, director of our pulmonary hypertension program, found that people with pulmonary hypertension are often misdiagnosed as having asthma or other cardiopulmonary conditions. Jessica Tobacman covered the study for the Chicago Tribune:

“I think we were not surprised by the general results,” said Dr. Mardi Gomberg-Maitland, a cardiologist and director of the pulmonary hypertension program at the U. of C. Medicine. “We’re seeing patients started on medications inappropriately … Patients are often misclassified, and given the wrong diagnosis.”

The study examined the medical histories of 140 patients who were ultimately referred in 2010 and 2011 to pulmonary hypertension centers at the U. of C., the University of Michigan and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The researchers found that many of the patients had been misdiagnosed before they received the correct diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension.

“We’re hoping that the paper shows that we need to improve educational efforts, and that we’re a team. We want referrals early so that patients can live longer and feel better,” Gomberg-Maitland said.

The University of Chicago Medicine is one of the largest pulmonary hypertension centers in the world, treating more than 1,000 patients per year. Find out more about our comprehensive treatment options at:

uchospitals.edu/specialties/heart/services/pulmonary-hypertension/.

About Matt Wood (507 Articles)
Matt Wood is a senior science writer at the University of Chicago Medicine and nonfiction editor for Another Chicago Magazine.
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