Health Risks Heart Valve Damage
A recent Mayo Clinic study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on August 28, 1997. This study suggests that as high as one-third of a patient sampling of Fen-Phen diet pill users had evidence of heart valve disease. The study found that there was a high incidence of heart valve disease in patients taking these diet pills, without any other known reason for valve disease.
The symptoms of heart valve disease may be subtle and present with such complaints as shortness of breath and chest pain. The treatment can include medication, a valvoplasty, or a repair of the damaged heart valves and/or heart valve replacement surgery.
Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH) PPH Treatments – Learn more
Primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) is a rare disease of unknown cause that results in the progressive narrowing of the blood vessels of the lungs, causing high blood pressure in these blood vessels and eventually leading to heart failure.
Use of certain fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine has been found to increase the risk of developing PPH, especially use lasting more than three months. Studies estimate that treatment with certain appetite suppressant drugs increases the risk of getting PPH from about one to 28 cases per million person-years (one person-year represents a patient treated for one year).
Initial symptoms of PPH may be very minor, and diagnosis may be delayed for several years until symptoms worsen. Typical symptoms may include:
shortness of breath following exertion excessive fatigue dizziness, fainting, and weakness ankle swelling bluish lips and skin chest pain.
It is difficult to detect PPH in a routine medical examination. Even when the disease has progressed, the signs and symptoms may be confused with other conditions that affect the heart and the lungs. To determine if a patient has pulmonary hypertension, a physician may recommend a cardiac catheterization with, perhaps, angiography. PPH is diagnosed only after several possible causes of pulmonary hypertension are excluded; additional tests are usually needed.
The prognosis for patients with PPH can be quite variable. Many patients report that by changing some parts of their lifestyles, they can go about many of their daily tasks. The median period of survival is three years after diagnosis, although the survival rate is generally longer for those patients without heart failure and for those patients diagnosed after 40.
Primary pulmonary hypertension is treated with a number of drugs. None of the drugs cure or halt the progression of this disease, but they may relieve symptoms. Some patients take vasodilators, which help to dilate the blood vessels in the lungs, reducing the blood pressure in them. In addition, anticoagulants may be used to decrease the tendency of the blood to clot in the lungs.
Although some patients do well with medication, others may need and be eligible for transplantation. Patients with severe PPH may be candidates for lung transplantation or heart-lung transplantation.
Recommendation to have an Echocardiogram
If you have taken either fen-phen or Redux for more than three months and have any shortness of breath, chest pain or unusual fatigue, the Federal Drug Administration and the American Board of Cardiology recommend that you have an echocardiogram.