Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that identifying respiratory diseases can help lead towards improved hypertension in lungs. This new study conducted on animals will help to pave the way for how physicians will be able to identify the risk of pulmonary hypertension in humans.
Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the lungs. It occurs when the small vessels in the lungs become narrowed or blocked, which can make it hard for the blood to flow through and eventually cause the heart to weaken or fail.
Carol Reinero, a professor of small animal internal medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine, was part of the research team that studied this association. They looked at 47 dogs with pulmonary hypertension caused by respiratory disease to try and characterize the type of underlying respiratory disorders that could possibly cause high blood pressure in the lungs.
Reinero spoke about the study, saying, “Understanding the diseases that contribute to pulmonary hypertension can lead to more tailored therapy approaches and help identify which medications are likely to be most beneficial. As many of these dogs have multiple issues, a thorough evaluation is needed to address the underlying problems causing the pulmonary hypertension.”
Veterinary cardiologists Kelly Wiggen and Stacey Leach worked with Reinero’s team to perform echocardiograms on the dogs in the study to help identify pulmonary hypertension.
“This is a great example of interdisciplinary teamwork, as MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine has both the specialized expertise and technical abilities to conduct comprehensive evaluations that ultimately lead to more thorough diagnoses and individualized treatment plans,” Reinero said. “We see people bring in their dogs from all over the country, which reflects our strength in the area of respiratory medicine.”
Although this study only included dogs, pulmonary hypertension can lead to death in both animals and humans. This study helps to outline the importance of linking the types of respiratory diseases that may be a factor in pulmonary hypertension. Once the exact illnesses are identified, health care providers can then address those factors in patients before it causes pulmonary hypertension.
“Our goal is to make a difference by improving the quality of care for animals,” Reinero said. “Doing clinically-relevant research means not just helping individual dogs, but also finding new knowledge that other vets can ultimately use to improve the quality of care for dogs worldwide.”