Tests for Pulmonary Hypertension – Part 2

Pulmonary hypertension could be caused or worsened by many medical conditions. So a long list of blood tests are required during the initial evaluation of patients suspected of having pulmonary hypertension, and subsequently and on a regular basis after the diagnosis is made. Listed here are some of the more common tests:

  • CBC (Complete Blood Count) is a simple count of the different kinds of blood cells. This test is important to check, for example, for anemia (low red blood cell counts) which is a possible cause of trouble breathing and fatigue. Some of the pulmonary hypertension medications may cause abnormalities in the cell counts as well.
  • BMP (Basic Metabolic Panel) is a list of blood tests that measure the function of the kidney and a variety of electrolytes including sodium and potassium for example.
  • LFTs (Liver Function Tests) are a list of blood tests that reflect the function of the liver. They include among other tests: ALT (Alanine aminotransferase), AST (Aspartate aminotransferase), alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, albumin, and other proteins.
  • CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel) is the blood test that includes both the BMP (basic metabolic panel) and the LFTs (liver function tests).
  • TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is a measure of the thyroid function. If the thyroid gland is not functioning well, then this may cause or worsen pulmonary hypertension. Abnormalities in the thyroid gland function could also cause trouble breathing and fatigue irrespective of pulmonary hypertension.
  • BNP (B-type Natriuretic Peptide, or brain-type natriuretic peptide) or pro-BNP (which is a related protein to BNP) are small proteins that are found in our blood and are released from the heart. They get released from the heart when the heart is exposed to increased strain, such as in pulmonary hypertension.

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About the author: Joe Fiorilli