26 May 2022

9/12/17 Resident Morning Report – Dyspnea on Exertion, HIV/AIDs, Pulmonary Hypertension, Ischemic Liver Injury

CC: Dyspnea on exertion

ID: This is a 52 year-old male with history of HIV intermittently taking antiretrovirals that presents with 2 months of progressive dyspnea on exertion. His functional status has slowly declined and patient can barely walk a block before becoming short of breath.  Patient denies any skin rash, fevers, recent URI, cough, night sweats, recent travel, orthopnea, or extremity swelling.  On exam patient requiring 6L NC to saturate >92%, tachypneic to 26, with a lower blood pressure then is typical for him, around 100/70.  He has clear lung fields but there is notable increase in his JVP as well as cold extremities on physical exam.

Notable Labs/Studies:

ABG: pH 7.43/ PCO2 28mmHg/PO2 45 mmHg/ HCO3 12

AST/ALT: 3960/1140

Tbili/Direct Bili: 3.1/2.2

Utox positive for amphetamines and opiates

CD4 count 110



Given clear CXR, evidence of right heart hypertrophy and strain on EKG, and elevated JVP on exam TTE pursued which demonstrated significant pulmonary hypertension.  This was followed by right heart catheterization (see values below).  His severe pulmonary hypertension was thought to from HIV but drug use could not be excluded.  He was not vasoreactive on catheterization so calcium channel blockers could not be used in his management.  Liver was consulted for the transaminase elevation and after excluding other etiologies, believed this hepatocellular injury to be from ischemia due to severe right heart failure and poor cardiac output.


Right Heart Catheterization:

  • CVP 14
  • PAP mean 68
  • PA systolic/PA diastolic: 109/49
  • PCWP: 12
  • CO/CI: 2.85/1.6

Teaching Points:

Remember causes of hypoxia with a normal chest x-ray:

-Asthma, Pulmonary embolism, Early PNA, ILD, Early PCP, Pulmonary Hypertension, Shunts, Hypoventilation


Know the Criteria to diagnosing Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension:

  1. PAP mean >25
  2. Pulmonary Artery Resistance >3 woods units
  3. Wedge pressure <15


To Diagnose Pulmonary Hypertension secondary to HIV, it is necessary need to exclude other causes.  Important studies to pursue to work up other WHO Classifications of Pulmonary Hypertension:

  • Transthoracic Echocardiogram
  • V/Q Scan
  • PFTs
  • Polysomnography
  • Autoantibody testing
  • High resolution CT





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