Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Testing, 1,2,3

The right heart catherization mentioned in my previous post is the Gold Standard to diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension. But while it is very important, there are other tests given to help determine what may be causing the PH, if anything. These tests include:

Blood tests - An arterial blood gas (abg) is totally not a fun test at all. It's a blood draw, but the blood is taken from the artery, not the vein. It hurts!! But what it tests is the amount of oxygen in the blood. If there isn't enough, the patient may need to be put on supplemental oxygen. Other blood tests check for liver and kidney function, thyroid problems, collagen vascular disease, and any signs of infections or HIV.

Chest Xrays - The chest xray can determine if the right ventricle or pulmonary arteries are enlarged. It also can show if someone has scarring or emphysema.

Electrocardiogram - This test checks the electrical impulses of the heart.

Pulmonary Function Tests - PFTs measure how much air your lungs can hold. They also show how much air is moving in and out of the lungs, and the lungs' ability to exchange oxygen.

Exercise Tolerance Test - Also known as the 6 minute walk, this test is supposed to determine how well a patient can handle exercise. This is the one test that gets repeated with almost every visit to the PH specialist. This test is also one that I find many of my phriends can't stand, including myself. lol

Nuclear Scan - A V/Q scan checks for blood clots in the lungs.

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