If the liver becomes damaged or diseased, it can create problems throughout the rest of the body. Damage to the liver over time can lead to a condition called cirrhosis, which refers to scarring of the liver tissue. Cirrhosis is the most common cause of portal hypertension, which is increased blood pressure in the portal veins that transport blood from the intestines to the liver. This increased pressure causes blood to bypass the liver. Portopulmonary hypertension (PoPH) is a type of PAH that occurs as a result of portal hypertension and advanced liver disease.
A specialist can diagnose PoPH by identifying high blood pressure in the liver in conjunction with the usual signs of PAH. Individuals with PoPH also may be identified when they undergo tests to determine if they are candidates for a liver transplant. Another type of liver disease, hepatopulmonary syndrome, is characterized by widening of the pulmonary blood vessels and low oxygen levels in the blood.
Download the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA)’s free patient brochure to learn more about PH risks and treatment options.