Pulmonary Hypertension: How the Radiologist Can Help

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1148/rg.321105232

The role of radiologists in diagnosing pulmonary hypertension on the basis of the Dana Point classification system and the emerging role of cardiac MR imaging in the evaluation and follow-up of patients with pulmonary hypertension is discussed.

Pulmonary hypertension is defined as an abnormal elevation of pressure in pulmonary circulation, with a mean pulmonary arterial pressure higher than 25 mmHg, regardless of the underlying mechanism. The clinical classification system for pulmonary hypertension was updated at the fourth World Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension in Dana Point, California, in 2008. In patients with suspected pulmonary hypertension, the diagnostic approach includes four stages: suspicion, detection, classification, and functional evaluation. It is crucial to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the different imaging tools available for the diagnostic work-up and follow-up of patients with pulmonary hypertension. Many conditions that cause pulmonary hypertension have suggestive findings at multidetector computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging; some causes may be surgically treatable, whereas others may demonstrate adverse reactions to vasodilator therapies used during the course of treatment. Therefore, the radiologist plays an important role in evaluating patients with this disease. Supplemental material available at http://radiographics.rsna.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1148/rg.321105232/-/DC1.

© RSNA, 2012


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Article History

Received: Nov 29 2010
Revision requested: Mar 29 2011
Revision received: July 30 2011
Accepted: Aug 15 2011
Published online: Dec 30 2011
Published in print: Jan 2012