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Understanding Pulmonary Hypertension

High blood pressure is a condition that affects your entire body, but did you know that there’s a type of high blood pressure that specifically impacts your lungs? According to the American Heart Association, pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the heart and lung system that delivers oxygenated blood to the heart while returning oxygen-depleted blood back to the lungs.

For a better understanding of pulmonary hypertension, Dr. Mrudula Munagala, director of the Advanced Heart Failure program at Oklahoma Heart Institute, gives us an in depth look at pulmonary hypertension and how to treat the condition.

“Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the lung arteries,” said Dr. Munagala. “Individuals who have high blood pressure in the lung arteries will have difficulty pushing the blood from the right side to the left side of the heart. Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension can include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, palpitations and loss of appetite.”

Different types of pulmonary hypertension can develop in your arteries. “There are multiple reasons people develop pulmonary hypertension,” said Dr. Munagala. “One of those reasons could be that an individual has pulmonary arterial hypertension, which is high blood pressure because of a stiff lung artery. This requires a special treatment plan and medication. There’s another type of pulmonary hypertension that is caused because of blood clots. If there are blood clots in the lung arteries we will perform a pulmonary thromboerndarterectomy, which is a procedure that removes organized blood clots from the pulmonary arteries.”

Comprehensive care is an integral part of treating pulmonary hypertension. “There are a few practitioners in Oklahoma doing pulmonary hypertension treatment but I am one of only two providers who are formally trained,” said Dr. Munagala. “Oklahoma Heart Institute offeres comprehensive care for pulmonary hypertension which has led us to many successful outcomes. We have a nurse who specializes in pulmonary hypertension and provides patients with proper education about to how to live with the condition. We also work closely with insurance companies and patient assistance programs to provide those who are eligible for treatment with the appropriate medications.”

Proper treatment and medication is necessary upon diagnosis. “Since pulmonary hypertension is a rare disease, medications are essential,” said Dr. Munagala. “You have to start the medications as soon as possible because the average lifespan of someone with untreated pulmonary hypertension is 2.8 years. We want to work with you to provide the best care and extend your life.”


Dr. Munagala can be seen at the Oklahoma Heart Institute Utica Office located at 1265 S. Utica Ave. Suite 300. Call 918-592-0999 for more information.