NYHA class III Pulmonary arterial hypertension

NYHA Class III Pulmonary arterial Hypertension: Chronic Shortness of Breath

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare, yet debilitating and life-threatening condition where the pressure in the pulmonary arteries of the lungs become too high due to changes in the lungs' pulmonary artery walls and vasculature. This disorder typically results in the progressive development of complex and difficult-to-treat symptoms. Specifically, NYHA Class III is a category of PAH where pulmonary arterial hypertension has led to marked limitation of physical activity with shortness of breath on minimal exertion.

Common symptoms of NYHA Class III include:

  • Shortness of breath at rest
  • Unpredictable fatigue during activities of daily living
  • Rapid heartbeat when standing or moving
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, and abdomen
  • Fainting or near-fainting with exertion
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

PAH can be diagnosed if two or more of the following criteria are present: resting heart rate above 90 beats per minute, systolic pressure greater than 40 mmHg, the arterial wedge pressure <15 mmHg and/or the calculated cardiac output index greater than 3.2 L/min/m2. Imaging showing small pulmonary arteries and lower oxygen levels in the blood can also indicate the presence of PAH.

Treatment options depend on the severity level of PAH and the patient’s individual risk factors. The goals of treatment for NYHA Class III PAH are to reduce symptoms and slow the further deterioration of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Common treatment options for this class of PAH include targeted multimodal therapies, drug therapies, and lifestyle changes such as stress management, increased physical activity, and dietary modification.

Early recognition and diagnosis of NYHA Class III PAH is often preferred since interventions may slow the progression of the disease and improve quality of life. Patients should discuss their individual risks and treatment options thoroughly with their healthcare provider in order to find a customized treatment plan that works best for them.