What is pulmonary hypertension?
Pulmonary hypertension means high blood pressure in the lungs. This condition leads to pulmonary vascular disease (PVD), the progressive obstruction of the lung blood vessels, which results in increasing shortness of breath and severe heart failure. This disease is incurable and often fatal. It can affect people of all ages, races and socio-economics groups, can be seen in babies born with a hole in their heart and those living at high altitude. It can also develop for no apparent reason in otherwise healthy people with devastating consequences.
New medicines help considerably by relieving symptoms and prolonging life but they do not cure. It is estimated that PVD affects over 60 million people worldwide, although this is an under-estimate as many patients are never diagnosed. Delay in diagnosis and even failure to make the diagnosis is common in both the developed and developing world. The PVRI is a membership organisation specifically aimed at scientists and physicians, not patients. However, all our efforts are aimed at improving the care of patients with PVD and researching into a cure for PVD.
Any money raised for the PVRI will go directly towards two main purposes – education and research. Education is aimed at raising awareness of PVD throughout the world by educating doctors to better diagnose and manage the disease, so that patients can receive proper treatment as quickly as possible. Early accurate diagnosis is key to survival. It can often take up to 18-24 months for a patient to be accurately diagnosed by which time the disease has often advanced to a very serious stage and only little can be done to help. However, with accurate diagnosis within the first six months from onset of the disease, PVD can be managed and patients can receive vital medicines to help them. The PVRI runs large scientific meetings all over the world as well as Master Classes to educate doctors on how to diagnose and manage PVD in their patients.
Research is aimed at facilitating new drug development and eventually finding a cure to treat PVD. We work closely with the pharmaceutical industry and drug regulatory bodies to develop new medicines. We have over 1,250 members from 75 different countries, including the most senior researchers in the field. We believe that our passions in PVD and our worldwide network makes it possible for our members to conduct basic, clinical and translational research at a level that no single individual or academic institution could accomplish.