Complete Care for Chronic Pulmonary Hypertension
Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is a type of high blood pressure that affects the blood vessels between the lungs and the heart. This condition, also called chronic pulmonary hypertension, is serious and can cause recurring embolisms, or blood clots, in the lungs. Over time, these blood clots can form scars in the arteries inside the lungs, which block blood flow in the lungs. This condition may also cause the right heart valve to leak and the right ventricle to fail. It can affect people of all ages and cause symptoms such as swelling, shortness of breath and severe fatigue.
Our USC Chronic Pulmonary Hypertension Program doctors use the latest diagnostic tools, including CT scans, pulmonary angiograms and ventilation-perfusion scans (VQ scans), to give you an accurate diagnosis and design your personalized treatment plan.
We bring together specialists in pulmonology, surgery, cardiology, thoracic radiology and critical care to give you complete care — from diagnosis to treatment to recovery.
Our surgeons are highly experienced in surgical treatment options such as pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE), a procedure that offers permanent relief from the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension.
No matter how complex your condition or how long you’ve had symptoms, we are dedicated to delivering expert care so that you can regain your health and quality of life.
Experts in Surgical Treatment for Pulmonary Hypertension
We are the only center in Los Angeles and one of a few in the nation that offers surgery for patients with chronic pulmonary hypertension.
Our doctors, surgeons, nurses and staff are highly experienced in surgical treatment for pulmonary hypertension, including care for complex cases and critically ill patients.
We are an academic medical center, which means that you have access to state-of-the-art equipment and innovative treatment therapies.
Our nursing staff and care teams are committed to giving you compassionate and attentive care to help you recover and have a better quality of life.
Your care is managed by highly experienced surgeons, pulmonary hypertension experts, thoracic radiology specialists and our Pulmonary Embolism Response Team (PERT), which includes intensivists, interventional cardiologists and interventional radiologists.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your Keck Medicine of USC team uses 3 main tests for chronic pulmonary hypertension: CT scan, pulmonary angiogram and ventilation-perfusion scan (VQ scan).
Our team specializes in pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE), a surgery that offers permanent relief from the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension. For this surgery, you go on a heart-lung machine. The surgical team cools the body down to 18-20 degrees Celsius (64.4-68 degrees Fahrenheit) and shuts off all blood flow to the body. This cool temperature reduces your need for oxygen and protects internal organs so that the procedure can be done. Then, the surgeon uses a special instrument to core out the scar, a lot like unclogging a pipe. PTE surgery helps restore proper blood flow to the lungs, allowing oxygen to circulate through the body. The procedure gives patients tremendous relief from symptoms such as swelling, shortness of breath and severe fatigue.
Patients can expect to be in the ICU for up to a week (48 hours to 7 days). Your care team will start blood thinners after surgery to prevent new clots from forming. We also focus on getting you up and moving, to help you regain your mobility and get back home.