What is pulmonary hypertension?

Pulmonary hypertension is a rare, life-threatening condition that causes high blood pressure in the lungs and right side of the heart. The high blood pressure causes blood vessels in the heart and lungs to narrow. It is hard to breathe because the heart works harder to pump blood through the lungs. Over time, the extra work can cause the heart to fail.

What causes pulmonary hypertension?

Pulmonary hypertension in children is usually caused by underlying medical or genetic conditions. This can include:

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Certain lung diseases
  • Certain genetic mutations (changes) or autoimmune diseases
  • Liver disease
  • If the doctor is not sure of the cause, it is called idiopathic pulmonary hypertension.
Rev. 3/2018. Reviewed by the MGHfC Family Advisory Council. This webpage is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.