Since the 1990s, pulmonary hypertension has been steadily increasing among seniors. As the median age at diagnosis continues to rise, healthcare providers have expanded their repertoire of treatment options. Below, we look at how some of these exciting new treatments are transforming the lives of seniors.
The Rise of New Treatment Options for Seniors With Pulmonary Hypertension
“About 80 percent of adults over the age of 65 have at least one chronic medical condition such as systemic hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, diabetes, heart or kidney disease, depression, Alzheimer’s or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).” – Phyllis Hanlon, Pulmonary Hypertension Association
Also known as high blood pressure of the lungs, pulmonary hypertension (PH) in seniors can be challenging to treat. The overwhelming majority of seniors already have at least one chronic medical condition. This requires healthcare professionals to exercise extra caution when administering treatment. For example, seniors who are already taking multiple medications may not be good candidates for certain treatments.
What Are Some Pulmonary Hypertension Treatments Gaining Traction Among Seniors?
Thanks to advances in pharmacology and medical device technology, seniors with pulmonary hypertension have more treatment options than ever to consider. Here are a few treatment options that continue to gain traction among seniors with PH.
1) Balloon Pulmonary Angioplasty
Balloon Pulmonary Angioplasty (BPA) is a leading-edge treatment that improves the functional capacity and respiratory parameters of the lungs. It involves the insertion of a balloon to open blood vessels that are constricted or blocked. Because it’s a minimally invasive procedure, BPA can be considered for seniors who are not in the proper physical condition to undergo surgery.
2) Triple Oral Therapy
“There was a 41% reduction in the risk of disease progression with the initial triple therapy group when compared to the initial double therapy group.” – Kenny Walter, HCP Live
Double oral combination therapy featuring Macitentan and Tadalafil is a common treatment for PH. However, recent studies show triple oral therapy featuring Selexipag to be more effective than double therapy in reducing disease progression.
3) Inhaled Nitric Oxide
Seniors with PH typically have above-average levels of oxidative stress. This can ultimately lead to fibrosis in organs such as the heart and liver. Inhaled Nitric Oxide (NO) is on the rise as a means of reducing and preventing PH in patients preparing for cardiac surgery. When applying this treatment with seniors, it’s especially important to keep the inhaled NO concentration at a minimally effective dose. This prevents the buildup of potentially harmful nitrogen dioxide in the body.
4) Implantable Pumps
The FDA recently approved implantable pumps to deliver medications such as Remodulin to patients with PH. The pumps are programmed to deliver a specific dose of medication through a patient’s veins.
The physician inserts an intravascular catheter through the vein and then connects the catheter to the pump, which is placed under the skin of the patient’s abdomen. He controls the pump via a handheld programming device and when needed, refills the pump with a needle and syringe.
Future Treatment Directions
In addition to the options above, there are some exciting new treatments on the horizon for treating PH. Some of these emerging therapies include Stem Cell-Based Therapy, Gene Therapy or Genetic Manipulation, and Epigenetic-Based Therapy. These treatments have shown promising early results but are still undergoing evaluation for safety and effectiveness.
David York Welcomes New Treatments for Pulmonary Hypertension in Briarwood
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