Pulmonary Hypertension Deaths on the Rise

Pulmonary hypertension related hospitalization and deaths increased from 2001 to 2010

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Heart disease takes many forms. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at one particular form — pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) — by the numbers.

This study looked at death rates and hospitalization events from pulmonary arterial hypertension, a form of heart disease in which pressure increases in the artery that carries blood to the heart, making the right side of the heart work harder.

The research team found that the rate that women were diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension rose significantly from 2001 to 2010.

The authors of this study noted that a large portion of deaths associated with pulmonary hypertension occurred in patients over the age of 75.

"Discuss any family history of heart disease with your doctor."

This research was led by Mary George, MD, researcher with the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the CDC.

Dr. George and her colleagues analyzed mortality (death) data from 2001 through 2010 in the National Vital Statistics System and data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey.

The research team identified pulmonary hypertension deaths or hospital discharges in the surveys to determine the number of pulmonary hypertension events and deaths.

“With expanding research into the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary hypertension, it is important to provide updated statistics on this disease’s impact on hospitalization and death rates,” Dr. George said in a press release.

Pulmonary hypertension is caused by an increase in blood pressure in the arteries that carry blood to the lungs. Eventually the condition can cause congestive heart failure and irregular heart beats, among other conditions.

The data showed that women accounted for 61 percent of all pulmonary hypertension events reported by hospitals between 2001 and 2002 and increased to 63 percent from 2009 to 2010.

The study also found that pulmonary hypertension death rates among women increased by 2.5 percent over the period of the study, while the death rate among men increased by only 0.9 percent over the same period.

According to the authors, hospitalization for pulmonary hypertension rose 52 percent among women and 33 percent among men from 2001 to 2010.

Nearly 40 percent of all pulmonary hypertension deaths occurred in patients over the age of 75.

The data also revealed that over the past decade, black patients were nearly 40 percent more likely to die from a pulmonary hypertension event than white patients were.

The authors concluded that there was a significant increase in pulmonary hypertension events and deaths among men and women of all races and ethnic groups. Increases in hospitalization may be evidence of better identification of pulmonary hypertension and the existence of more treatment options.

This study was published April 3 in the journal CHEST.

The authors made no disclosures.

Review Date: 
April 4, 2014
Last Updated:
April 6, 2014