The definition of pulmonary vascular disease is simple: any condition that affects the blood vessels along the route between the heart and lungs.
Blood travels from the heart, to the lungs, and back to the heart. This process continually refills the blood with oxygen, and lets carbon dioxide be exhaled. Here’s how the process works:
- Oxygen-poor blood returns from the body’s tissues through the veins back to the heart’s right side.
- The right heart pumps oxygen-poor blood through the pulmonary arteries into the lungs. This blood then becomes filled with oxygen.
- The oxygen-rich blood returns from the lungs back to the heart’s left side. The left heart pumps the oxygen-rich blood into the body through the aorta and a lot of other arteries.
Any part of the heart-lung blood circuit can become damaged or blocked, leading to pulmonary vascular disease.