Because a definitive diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension requires cardiac catheterization, there have been no data on the prevalence of pulmonary hypertension in the general population. The diameter of the right descending pulmonary artery, as measured from chest roentgenograms, has been used by clinicians as a noninvasive indicator of pulmonary hypertension. Chest roentgenograms from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a sample survey of the US civilian noninstitutional population, were used in conjunction with estimates of sensitivity and specificity of this technique determined from patients who underwent right heart catheterization to estimate the prevalence of pulmonary hypertension (mean pulmonary artery pressure >20 mm Hg at rest) in the US population aged 25 years and older. The prevalence is estimated to be very low in the population at large, primarily because of the low prevalence in women of all ages. The prevalence in men is 13.4 percent above age 34, and increases to 28.2 percent above age 64. Thus, in elderly men, pulmonary hypertension is relatively common and may have an important impact in the management of this age group.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine