Lung Circulation Diseases

Lung Circulation Diseases refers to any disease that affects the circulatory vessels within the lung tissue. Lung Circulation Diseases are usually caused by blood clots, scarring, or inflammation of the blood vessels. There is functional lung impairment on its capacity to accumulate oxygen or release carbon dioxide. Most of these diseases complicates and affects the heart function.

Lung Clot

A lung clot happens when there is a sudden blockage of the lung artery due to a blood clot, which usually comes from the pelvis and the legs. The sudden blockage will cause acute dyspnea (difficulty breathing), chest pain and fainting. Blood clots in circulation, that reach the lungs or heart, may be fatal if not treated immediately.

Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary Hypertension is the medical condition where the pressure in the pulmonary circulation abnormally exceeds that of the systemic circulation. Pulmonary Hypertension happens when the pulmonary arteries becomes constricted, thickened and stiffened causing pulmonary pressure to increase. The increase in pulmonary pressure exerts undue stress to the right ventricle of the heart to enlarge, causing fluids to accumulate in the lower parts of the body and complicate the heart failure eventually. Pulmonary Fibrosis, a lung tissue disease, may advance to Pulmonary Hypertension.

Pulmonary Vascular Disease

Pulmonary vascular disease is a term used to describe lung diseases that involve the integrity of the lung vasculature. Diseases in this category include, but are not limited to:  Lung Thromboembolism, Pulmonary veno-occlusive disease, and Arterio-Venous Malformations. Pulmonary Thrombo-Embolism starts with an old blood clot lodged in the arteries of the lung, hampering normal blood flow. Veno-occlusive disease causes narrowing of lung veins, causing congestion and swelling of the lungs.

Pulmonary Edema

Pulmonary Edema happens when the lung alveolus becomes filled by fluid due to an increase in venous pressure where fluid leaks out to the lungs. The accumulation of fluid in the lungs cause difficulty of breathing, pulmonary edema may be a sign for an impending right sided heart failure. Pulmonary edema can occur in high altitude exercise, chest trauma, poisonous gas and severe lung infections.

DIAGNOSIS

A thorough history intake, physical examination and Q and A session with a Pulmonologist may often unearth the diagnosis before any test is started. A number of pulmonary tests may help in the diagnosis of Lung Circulation diseases, such as Chest X-ray, Pulmonary Angiography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Cardiac Catheterization.  Learn more about how these tests are performed, where the results may lead a confirmatory diagnosis and how they may assist in developing a treatment plan.  Visit: Diagnosis for Lung Conditions.

TREATMENT

The following treatment options may be employed to manage Lung Circulation Diseases.

Medications – Intravenous heparin or thrombolytics may dissolve the lung clot within a few minutes. Warfarin are anticoagulants in tablet form, may be given to prevent subsequent clot formations. Diuretics may be used to unload the fluids of congestion in the case of pulmonary hypertension. Digoxin may allay the right ventricle and delay the progression of heart failure in pulmonary hypertension and veno-occlusive diseases. Calcium channel blockers may lower pulmonary pressure and control hypertension.

Surgical – The actual removal of the lung clot by suctioning it through the cardiac catheter may resolve a lung clot condition. The attachment of a vein filter placed in the inferior vena cava may stop blood clots from the lower part of the body from being dislodged to prevent reaching the lungs, heart and brain. A radical open chest surgery to remove as many blood clots from lung arteries may be attempted, but this approach is less frequent.

Oxygen Therapy – Oxygen therapy is likely needed to increase availability of oxygen for individuals with pulmonary hypertension suffering from nocturnal hypoxemia.

OUTCOME

Lung Clots or Pulmonary Embolism in a few hours may have fatal consequences, if left untreated immediately.  Those who have survived the attack may be likely to have the option to take medical (anti-coagulants) or undergo surgical (vein filters) intervention as a precautionary measure to prevent the high likelihood of recurrence. In cases of pulmonary hypertension, the condition is incurable and progressive. All efforts are generally made medically to hamper the progression of the disease. Individuals with a lung circulation disease may be likely to visit their doctor frequently and regularly.

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.