Treated for Asthma Years Before My Diagnosis: Helen Ardiente

April 17,2019

My name is Helen Ardiente. I am 65 years old. I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2015 by Dr. Gomberg at the University of Chicago. Before I was diagnosed, I saw a pulmonologist for three years. She diagnosed me with asthma, and I was prescribed with asthma medications along with a steroid, but there was no relief at all. I’ve been using all asthma medications for all these years with no relief. Every time I saw her, she only increased my dosage.

The relief was only temporary, and in two weeks I would have to go back again to see her. I always told my doctor that I was not get better and my shortness of breath was getting worse, even when walking for a short distance. I would walk not even 100 meters, and I would become tired. I would check my oxygen saturation, and it would only be 85, and my heart rate would be higher than normal. At that time, I was started on oxygen therapy for 24 hours.

Finally, I was referred to see a cardiologist at the University of Chicago, and Dr. Gomberg scheduled me for a right heart catheterization the next day. That is when I found out I have pulmonary hypertension, and was admitted to the ICU. That same day I was started on IV mediation, Remodulin, via a central line on the right side of my neck. I was in the hospital for a week, and was sent home feeling better. While at home, my medication was to be titrated every two weeks. I had a visiting nurse from a specialty pharmacy who came every month to check how I was doing with the mixing of medication. Now, I go to the pulmonologist every three months.

I am still on IV Remodulin and the doctor said I am stable with medication for now. I remain on continuous oxygen 24/7. I was also started on Adempas in February of 2018 and so far, I am tolerating the medication well and have noticed an increase in my stamina. I still having shortness of breath with exertion, but I can walk much further than before. I have to have a six minute walk test every time I visit my cardiologist at the University of Chicago. My last six minute walk test showed an improvement compared to the last one three months ago. I can’t do much yet, but slowly I am getting better.

My husband and my two sons are always by my side and always support me in all my needs. I am thankful and grateful for the support I receive from my family. I am also grateful to Team PHenomenal Hope, who helped me with my unmet needs, especially for the extra battery for my portable concentrator. It is so needed, especially when I go for my doctors appointments which requires us to travel up to 50 miles from home each way.

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