BSMMU offers free care for hypertension patients
A team of specialists at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) have been providing free treatment to the Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) patients for their relief from the disease.
"We have formed a medical board comprising cardiologist, pulmonologist and rheumatologists, who are providing treatment on the first Sunday of every month to these patients at the BSMMU Cardiology Department," Cardiologist Dr Jahanara Arzu told BSS on Sunday.
Also an associate professor of the BSMMU Cardiology Department, she called for creating awareness among the common people about the disease as mass people do not know about it properly.
"Many people know about the systemic hypertension (high blood pressure), but when the high blood pressure occurs in the arteries of the lungs, called pulmonary hypertension, it is not properly known to all," she added.
In the case of PH, Dr Arzu said, the blood vessels in the lungs constrict and become narrowed due to thromboembolism, cellular proliferation, remodeling and or obstruction of smaller pulmonary blood vessels.
"They become structurally and functionally abnormal. This makes it harder for the right ventricle of the heart to pump blood through the lungs to reach the left side of the heart and to the rest of the body," she added.
She said this increases stress inside the right ventricle, resulting in its enlargement and subsequent weakening, eventually leading to right heart failure.
When this happens, she said, enough oxygen cannot travel to rest of the body, resulting in symptoms and eventually premature death from progressive right heart failure or an abnormal heart rhythm.
In general, Dr Arzu said, the most common symptoms are breathlessness, weakness, dizziness and sometimes syncope, bluish coloration of skin on activity and when standing up sensation of racing heart beat (palpitations ), chest pain, particularly on productive cough sometimes blood stained sputum and activity cough swollen legs and ankle.
She said early symptoms of PH are often subtle and common to other conditions such as asthma, chronic pulmonary disease and are frequently overlooked.
Blood tests, ECG, chest x-ray, lung function test, six-minute walk test, lung ventilation or perfusion scanning, echocardiogram, HRCT, even CT pulmonary angiogram and right heart catheterization and MRI are useful to identify the causes, she added.
At the beginning of treatment, the Pulmonary Hypertension expert said, doctor will have to identify the main reason of the disease.
"A number of drugs improve pulmonary hypertension and appear to relieve the patients' symptoms and improve their survival," she added. These drugs are Ambrisantan, Sildenafil, Tadalafil, Digoxin, Nidipine and Diureticss.
Dr Arzu said female patients should avoid pregnancy. Hence safe and effective contraception in women who can become pregnant is mandatory, she added.