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Pulmonary Hypertension & Right Heart Failure Program

The Temple Pulmonary Hypertension and Right Heart Failure Program helps patients with pulmonary hypertension and related conditions manage, and in some cases greatly reduce, their symptoms—often leading to better quality of life and slowing or reversing the progression of the disease.

Pulmonary hypertension occurs when the blood vessels within and/or leading to the lungs become narrowed, hardened, or blocked. This leads to high blood pressure and forces the right chamber of the heart, which pumps blood through the lungs, to work harder. If left untreated, it can eventually lead to right heart failure and even death.

Paul Forfia Pulmonary Hypertension

At Temple, our goal is to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life, provide comfort and support, and slow or even reverse disease progression.

Diagnosing Pulmonary Hypertension

Often related to other heart or lung conditions, pulmonary hypertension can have many different causes. Determining the cause enables more targeted treatment, so it is extremely important that patients receive a comprehensive evaluation by highly trained and specialized diagnosticians. Temple’s diagnostic team uses sophisticated heart and lung imaging studies and has the ability to perform cardiac catheterization at rest and with bicycle exercise.  

When pulmonary hypertension is suspected, the Temple team begins with a thorough history, physical examination, and routine tests (e.g., chest X-rayelectrocardiogrampulmonary function testsblood tests). The Temple pulmonary hypertension team has particular and renowned expertise with the use of echocardiogram to diagnosis pulmonary hypertension. Sophisticated interpretation of the echocardiogram can lead to a tailored diagnostic and therapeutic workup for each patient. Some patients may also require a cardiac catheterization to obtain further information about the pulmonary hypertension.  

Skilled Management for a Complex Disease

Treating pulmonary hypertension is a complex endeavor and requires regular follow-up and intensive attention from the medical team. Our multidisciplinary specialists have the skill and experience to help patients at all stages and with all varieties of pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure manage their condition.

Our team helps patients manage pulmonary hypertension as a lifetime condition, often with a combination of medications to help open the narrowed vessels or reduce the risk of clotting. For certain patients with severe pulmonary hypertension and/or right heart failure, a lung or heart-lung transplant may be the best or only option; Temple is highly experienced at complex transplantation procedures.

Advanced Treatment for Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH)

Sometimes pulmonary hypertension is caused by blood clots that have become lodged in the lungs (pulmonary emboli), leading to a condition known as chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). Our physicians have special expertise in diagnosis as well as the medical and surgical management of CTEPH. The surgical treatment for CTEPH is called pulmonary thromboendaretectomy surgery (PTE). This is a highly complex surgical procedure that removes chronic blood clots from the lungs.  

Paul Forfia, MD, and Yoshiya Toyoda, MD, PhD, bring their unique experience in medically managing and performing PTE. Temple is among a select few institutions in the country who can safely and effectively perform the procedure.

The Temple Pulmonary Hypertension team also performs balloon pulmonary angioplasty on select patients with CTEPH. This minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure may be appropriate for certain patients who are not candidates for the PTE surgery. Interventional cardiologist, Riyaz Bashir, MD, has special expertise in performing this advanced procedure.

Patients in the Pulmonary Hypertension and Right Heart Failure Program receive support and care from of a team of specialists including:

  • Heart failure cardiologists
  • Pulmonologists
  • Cardiovascular surgeons
  • Cardiovascular imaging specialists