How is PAH diagnosed?

It’s difficult to diagnose PAH because it is rare and has a lot of the same symptoms as more common diseases or conditions. Typically, your doctor will try to rule out the common diseases.

If you have symptoms of PAH, your doctor may conduct specific tests to assess for PAH, including

PAH Chest X-ray

Chest x-rays

show whether the arteries in your lungs and right ventricle are enlarged

PAH Blood Test

Blood tests

rule out any other diseases that may be causing your symptoms

PAH Lung Scan

Ventilation/Perfusion scans,

or V/Q lung scans, measure your breathing and circulation in your lungs

PAH Echocardiogram


allow your doctor to see your heart as it pumps

6 minute walk test

6-minute walk distance,

or 6MWD, tracks how far you can walk in 6 minutes

PAH Pulmonary Function Test

Pulmonary function tests,

or PFTs, measure your lung function

PAH Right Heart Catheterization

Right-heart cath: The only way to confirm a PAH diagnosis

If your doctor suspects you have PAH, he or she will perform a right-heart catheterization to measure the pressures in your heart and the arteries in your lungs.

These tests also help your doctor understand how severe your PAH is and will help your doctor determine the best treatment for you.