What is PPH?

About Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH)

PPH (also known as Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension) is an incurable, fatal lung disorder in which the blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries rises far above normal levels. Normal pulmonary artery pressures are below 25 mmHg. They are measured by right heart catheterization, a procedure whereby a catheter is threaded through the femoral artery into the pulmonary artery, and the catheter measures the pressures. The pressure rises because the pulmonary arterioles, the blood vessels which carry oxygen-poor blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs, becomes constricted, causing the right side of the heart to become overworked and enlarged as it attempts to pump enough blood through the lungs. Patients suffering from PPH/PAH experience progressive elevation of pulmonary artery pressure, which leads to right heart failure and death. In the absence of treatment, patients slowly and painfully suffocate and die.

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There are several different types, causes, and names for various types of pulmonary hypertension, but all involve excessive blood pressure in the lungs.

Pulmonary hypertension is referred to as primary when it occurs without any apparent cause. Secondary pulmonary hypertension occurs as a result of another condition.


Primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) is also called pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) because it affects the pulmonary arteries — those that carry blood from the heart into the lungs to pick up oxygen. PAH that is caused by exposure to toxins, such as the diet drug Fen-Phen, is termed APAH.

PPH is a chronic, progressive disease that permanently damages the heart and lungs. There is no cure. Treatments include medication and, in some instances, heart lung transplantation.

The early symptoms of PPH include shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness and weakness. Because the symptoms are vague and common to other conditions, PPH often goes undiagnosed — sometimes for years.

According to the American Lung Association, there were 3,065 deaths attributed to PPH in 2000.

The attorneys of Hersh & Hersh represent clients who took the diet drug Fen-Phen and later developed PPH. Our law firm has tremendous knowledge and experience in PPH claims, and has successfully resolved cases for dozens of clients.

If you have developed PPH and once took Fen-Phen, please contact our law firm today to arrange a free consultation and case evaluation.

From our offices in San Francisco, California, the lawyers of Hersh & Hersh represent PPH victims throughout the nation.

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