Pulmonary Hypertension Association Supports National Donate Life Month

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Throughout April, PHA is honoring patients who have received organs and donors who make life-saving transplant possible.

Pulmonary Hypertension Association

I’ve done so many wonderful things in these past 7.5 years that I had only dreamed about before. The best was getting off all oxygen and the ease that brought to me and my family—a major burden gone.

The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) stands in support of National Donate Life Month in honor of those who’ve recognized an opportunity to help others and those awaiting life-saving transplantation, including some patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH).

PH is increased pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs that can lead to death from right heart failure. The symptoms of PH include shortness of breath, dizziness and fatigue. The disease is often misdiagnosed and treated as another illness, such as asthma or COPD. Although PH is a serious illness, with early and accurate diagnosis, PH treatments can extend and improve the quality of life for many patients. Lung or heart-lung transplant is a treatment option sometimes used when patients with PH do not respond to other medical therapies.

Throughout April, PHA will highlight patient stories and information to raise awareness of how organ donation gives some PH patients a second chance at life. These stories illustrate both the need for heart and lung donors and the unique challenges of PH patients who are donor recipients or considering transplantation.

For example, heart and lung transplant recipient Shirley Craig was on a waiting list for a transplant for 15 months. Her PH was progressing and she was in congestive heart failure when she received her call on the morning of Nov. 3, 2008. She received her transplant at Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas.

“I’ve done so many wonderful things in these past 7.5 years that I had only dreamed about before,” she says. “The best was getting off all oxygen and the ease that brought to me and my family—a major burden gone.”

In some cases, transplantation can prolong survival, improve quality of life and potentially cure PH, but it carries risks for significant complications and patients must consider many factors in preparing for and considering a transplant. To learn more about transplant and pulmonary hypertension, visit http://www.PHAssociation.org/Transplant.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, each organ or tissue donor can save or improve the lives of as many as 50 people waiting for a transplant. To become a donor, individuals should register with a state donor registry, designate the decision on a driver’s license, and discuss the decision with family members.

About the Pulmonary Hypertension Association: Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the country’s leading pulmonary hypertension organization. Its mission is to extend and improve the lives of those affected by PH; its vision is a world without PH, empowered by hope. For more information, please go to http://www.PHAssociation.org, @PHAssociation on Twitter or http://www.facebook.com/PulmonaryHypertensionAssociation.

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Jordan Jennings
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