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A new method allows for the early diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension
Date:11/13/2007

osed to cold, which is known as Raynauds phenomenon, and causes skin swelling from fingers to wrists. Scleroderma is also characterised by damage in the skin of hands, neck and face. This damage resembles little spider veins known as telangiectasias. In addition to this, other organs such as the oesophagus, the kidneys or the lungs may be affected. Lung damage is one of the most significant and serious symptoms, being the leading cause of death among patients suffering from scleroderma. The research team from the University of Granada maintained detailed medical records of each of the 41 patients included in order to accomplish this study. They also included data from both blood and respitatory tests. An echocardiogram was performed on all patients while they were resting and after physical effort on a special bicycle, called a bicycle ergometer. From the results of this study, it has been concluded that there is a group of patients who present a serious pathological increase of pulmonary artery systolic pressure when exercising. Therefore, these findings are very early evidence of scleroderma. Thanks to this early diagnosis a suitable treatment can be started to modify the scleroderma cycle, thus improving patients prognosis significantly.

Early diagnosis

Given that pulmonary hypertension is a very serious complication of scleroderma, Lourdes Lpez stresses the importance of diagnosing it as soon as possible in order to foresee the appearance of symptoms ascribed to it, such as breathing difficulty while partaking in physical activity or dyspnea. She also states that using the bicycle ergometer to measure pulmonary artery systolic pressure of the patient after physical activity and performing an echocardiogram are very reliable methods, since they may help to identify scleroderma earlier.

The results of this new research confirms the importance of performing an echocardiogram on patients suffering
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Contact: Dr. Lourdes Lpez Prez
luligranada@gmail.com
34-958-244-114
Universidad de Granada
Source:Eurekalert

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