Pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs, is a condition in which a person’s arteries thicken and the blood does not flow as well as it should. When this happens, the heart must work harder to pump blood through the lungs. Some cases of pulmonary hypertension can lead to serious health problems, such as heart failure. Treatment options for pulmonary hypertension are available, but they do not work for everyone.
Results from a research study led by Marc Simon, MD, MS, FACC, at the University of Pittsburgh show that a treatment using inhaled nitrite – a drug that opens blood vessels – is safe for patients with pulmonary hypertension and may particularly benefit people who suffer from a type of pulmonary hypertension called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (PH-HFpEF). The ejection fraction is a measurement used to estimate the pumping ability of the heart’s left ventricle. For the group of patients with PH-HFpEF, inhaled nitrite lowered blood pressure and improved the elasticity of the arteries. Dr. Simon and his team plan to continue studying the promising effects of inhaled nitrite for people with heart disease.
Interested in heart and circulation studies? Learn about opportunities from Dr. Simon and other researchers at pittplusme.org.