Pediatric pulmonary hypertension

Getting your child back on beat

At the UW Health Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic, specialists in heart health, lung health and critical care work together to help your child.
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Overview

Expert care from a team of specialists

Children who have pulmonary hypertension benefit when a team of experts works together to provide their care. That’s what we offer through the Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic at UW Health.

We diagnose, treat and manage your child’s condition and are a resource for you as well. Our goal is to help your child live as fully as possible, with a good quality of life.

Treatments and services

Complete care for today’s kids and hope for tomorrow’s

Pulmonary hypertension refers to high blood pressure in the lungs. Narrowed or damaged blood vessels in the lungs make it hard for blood to get through. This forces the heart to work harder and can lead to heart failure.

Sometimes pulmonary hypertension runs in families or is linked to another health problem. Other times the cause is unknown. We work to figure out what’s behind the condition and help you and your child take control of it.

Diagnosis

Children with pulmonary hypertension often feel short of breath or tire easily when they’re active. Many have a cough. These symptoms can be mistaken for asthma or other conditions. Kids also might experience fainting, chest pain, poor growth or swelling of the feet and ankles.

At our clinic, we use many tests to assess symptoms and make a diagnosis. Common tests include:

  • Abdominal ultrasound

  • Blood tests

  • Chest X-ray

  • Diagnostic cardiac catheterization | Watch video

  • Echocardiogram | Watch video

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) | Watch video

  • Exercise stress test | Watch video

  • Lung CT scan

  • Reflux study

  • Sleep study

  • Swallow study

  • Ventilation/perfusion scan

Treatment 

If we can identify a cause, treatment focuses on the problem contributing to pulmonary hypertension. That might be surgery to correct a heart defect or treatment for lung disease or sleep apnea. Our team works together to find the treatment that’s best for you.

If there’s no known medical cause for your child’s condition, there are medications that can help. There is no cure in many cases. However, we can help lessen symptoms and make your child’s life better. As your child gets older, we also offer complete care for adults.

Research 

There’s a lot about pulmonary hypertension that we still don’t know. Our team is working to change that.

Through several special labs and research groups, UW Health doctors are studying pulmonary hypertension in kids. They’re working to better understand the disease and find new ways to treat it. We offer help to those dealing with pulmonary hypertension today. But we also offer hope that we’ll be better able to treat it in the future.

Research labs

The Eldridge laboratory investigates cardiopulmonary interactions in congenital and acquired lung disease including congenital diaphragmatic hernia, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, asthma, hepatopulmonary syndrome and, bronchiolitis obliterans.

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The focus of the Balasubramaniam Laboratory research is the treatment and prevention of lung disease that is the result of premature birth, including abnormal lung function from premature birth and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

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Meet our team

Our experience and expertise put your child in good hands

Pulmonary hypertension is a rare condition. But at UW Health, our providers regularly work with kids who have the disease. They include specialists in pulmonology and sleep medicine, neonatology and cardiovascular medicine. They make sure your child always receives the highest level of care.

Location

Serving you through American Family Children’s Hospital

Our Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic is at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wis.

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  • American Family Children's Hospital - Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic
    • 1675 Highland Ave. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 263-6420
    • Open now
    •  
      View hours, services and more

Patient and support services

Learn more

The Pulmonary Hypertension Association provides resources and information about living with pulmonary hypertension. These resources may help you when caring for a child with the disease and children themselves as they get older.