How does my doctor assess the severity of my PH?


Once you've been diagnosed with PH, your doctor will assess how severe your PH is. Your doctor can best assess you and understand the severity of your PH by looking at several features of your PH:




  • The severity and nature of your symptoms
  • Physical examination of your heart
  • The level of activity or exertion that brings on your symptoms (WHO class)
  • Your capacity to exercise during specific exercise tests, such as a 6-minute walk test (6MWT), or a treadmill or bicycle exercise test
  • A blood test for the level of brain natriuretic peptide (also known as BNP)
  • ECHO of your heart
  • Pulmonary artery catheterization

The severity of your PH is classified by using the World Health Organization (WHO) classification system:

  • Class 1. Although you've been diagnosed with PH, you have no symptoms
  • Class 2. You don't have symptoms at rest, but you experience fatigue, difficulty breathing, or chest pain with normal activity. Practically speaking, you can manage all of your daily activities, you can walk comfortably on the flat for at least 1-2 blocks, and you can comfortably walk up 1 flight of stairs
  • Class 3. You don't have symptoms at rest, but have symptoms of fatigue, difficulty breathing, or chest pain with slight exertion. Practically speaking, daily activities such as bathing and dressing are difficult, walking a block on the flat at a slow pace is your limit, and you cannot manage a flight of stairs comfortably
  • Class 4. You have symptoms of fatigue, difficulty breathing, or chest pain even at rest, you have episodes of fainting or loss of consciousness (also known as syncope)

6-Minute Walk Test

Echocardiogram (ECHO)

Pulmonary Artery Catheterization