SHAPE™ is a diagnostic test for pulmonary hypertension, a life-threatening condition. SHAPE stands for Submaximal Heart And Pulmonary Evaluation. For some patients, it can replace the need for invasive testing that carries some serious risks.
A rare group of auto-immune diseases called systemic sclerosis, or scleroderma, causes a hardening of the skin, and in some cases the hardening of internal connective tissues. The hardening is caused by skin cells producing too much collagen. Skin feels tight and stretched, and it may prevent easy and pain-free movement.
Scleroderma can also affect some internal organs, including the lungs. Pulmonary fibrosis is scarring of the lung tissue that can lead to pulmonary hypertension (PH). Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders can also cause the condition.
The gold standard test for pulmonary hypertension is right heart catheterization. However, this is an invasive test that has some serious risks, as well as being very expensive. SHAPE testing is a non-invasive and more reliable option than other non-invasive tests for screening patients with scleroderma for pulmonary hypertension.
During a SHAPE test, you step up and down on a step that is 5 ½ inches high for a three-minute stress test. The end tidal carbon dioxide measurement is monitored for the duration of the test. This measurement indicates the output of your heart and whether you have pulmonary hypertension.
Although pulmonary hypertension is a chronic condition with no cure, there are treatments available to improve quality of life and reduce the severity of symptoms. PH often has no symptoms until a patient has had the condition for years, so diagnosing it as early as possible is extremely important for the best treatment outcome.
Dr. Olusegun Oseni is board certified in pulmonology and sleep medicine, able to diagnose many breathing and sleep related conditions with honesty and accuracy. If you are experiencing difficulty breathing or have received a diagnosis of scleroderma, call Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas at (817) 594-9993 or use our online form to request an appointment with Dr. Oseni today.