Palliative care in pulmonary arterial hypertension

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Developments in the management of pulmonary arterial hypertension have significantly improved prognosis changing this from an acute to a chronic disease. Despite optimal treatment many patients still have a high-symptom burden both because of the disease and the side-effects of therapy, consequently there is an increasing need for a palliative care approach to improve the quality of life for this patient group. This review article will outline the need for palliative care support for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension, discuss the barriers that currently exist and suggest how this may be improved.

Recent findings

Studies have been conducted which explore the role of palliative care in pulmonary arterial hypertension including physicians attitudes and the current barriers that exist to prevent its implementation.

Summary

Specialist palliative support is utilized in the minority of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension despite a need for symptom control. Patients may benefit from the introduction of a palliative care approach as part of their standard care, but to achieve this there needs to be a greater understanding of the role of palliative care by both clinicians and patients and more research into the benefits for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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