When cure is care: Diagnosis and management of pulmonary arterial hypertension


  • Brian Widmar BSN, RN, CCRN

  • Conflict of Interest Disclosure
    No relationship exists between the author and any commercial product mentioned in this article that might represent a conflict of interest. Drugs currently in testing are clearly identified as experimental and no off-label use of currently available drugs is recommended.

  • Author
    Brian Widmar, BSN, RN, CCRN, is a graduate student in the ACNP program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing.

Contact Mr. Widmar by e-mail at Brybri2@aol.com



The purpose of this article is to provide nurse practitioners with an understanding of the pathophysiology of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) disease, clinical manifestations, diagnostic evaluation, drug therapy, strategies for health promotion, and relevant care issues for patients and families.

Data sources

Selected clinical and research articles, as well as current government guidelines.


Symptoms expressed are more apparent as PAH disease progresses, leaving fewer treatment options in advanced disease stages. New drugs are currently being tested for the treatment of PAH; however, the costs of many of the currently approved treatments may be prohibitive.

Implications for practice

Earlier recognition of disease symptoms leads to prompt initiation of diagnostic evaluation and referral to specializing medical centers. Upon referral, specialty centers may begin appropriate treatment regimens earlier in the disease process, which could improve clinical outcomes and quality of life.