Pulmonary Hypertension Symptoms and Complications

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Symptoms of PH
Complications of PH


Initially there may be no symptoms of pulmonary hypertension at all.

Later on, symptoms may include shortness of breath, weakness, and/or fatigue on exertion. For example, a person may feel fine sitting in a chair but they might feel weak or short of breath after walking awhile.

As it progresses, people become very tired after only slight activity. Eventually, they may get right-sided heart failure, and die.

However, the course of mild to moderate pulmonary hypertension in scleroderma patients is still largely unknown, and it is possible that it might persist unchanged for long periods of time in some cases.


Pulmonary Hypertension Symptoms. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, chest pressure or pain, edema, bluish color to lips and skin, and racing pulse or palpitations. Mayo Clinic.

Shortness of Breath This worrisome symptom has many acute and chronic causes. Follow this flowchart for more information about the diseases in which shortness of breath occurs.


Characteristics of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in Patients with Systemic Sclerosis and Anticentriole Autoantibodies (ACA). ACA-positive SSc-PAH rapidly deteriorates, so careful hemodynamic observation and timely aggressive use of pulmonary vasodilators should be considered. PubMed, Int Heart J, 2020;61(2):413-418. (Also see Antibodies)

Pulmonary veno-occlusive disease (PVOD): a probably underdiagnosed cause of pulmonary hypertension in systemic sclerosis. Patients with PVOD usually have a poor prognosis and might experience acute pulmonary oedema after introduction of pulmonary vasodilators. PubMed, Clin Rheumatol, 01/22/2020.

Go to Pulmonary Hypertension Treatments

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