1. Hohsfield, Robin BSN, RN
  2. Archer-Chicko, Christine MSN, CRNP
  3. Housten, Traci MS, RN
  4. Harris Nolley, Stephanie BSN, RN


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) complicates common diseases and can lead to worsening symptoms and increased mortality. A specific group of PH, pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), World Health Organization Group 1, may present to the emergency department (ED). We review common ED presentations of patients with PAH such as cardiac arrest/sudden death, right ventricular failure, syncope, hypoxemic respiratory failure, arrhythmias, hemoptysis, pulmonary embolism, chest pain/left main compression syndrome, infection, and considerations for PAH medication administration. We include a case study to illustrate a real example with a positive outcome, and an algorithm for evaluating and triaging patients with PAH in the ED. The ability to recognize, triage, and communicate changes in PAH disease status in a multidisciplinary team approach between the patient, family, specialty pharmacy, and specialized health care providers such as the PH team, is essential for ED providers who are evaluating and treating patients with PAH.