Patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure caused by clotting in the blood vessels of the lungs) may be eligible for pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) surgery to remove the clots. The result of this surgery is often curative.
Understanding PTE Surgery
PTE surgery involves placing the patient on a heart-lung machine to keep blood circulating, then cutting through the breastbone (sternum) to expose the heart and lungs. Once this is done, the patient’s blood is cooled to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, which slows down the metabolism and allows the surgeons to periodically turn off the heart-lung machine. This gives them time to open the affected arteries and veins and remove the blood clots (and the scar tissue that has built up around the clots). Once the clots are removed and the patient’s blood has been warmed to a normal temperature, the patient’s heart and lungs are returned to normal function.
Why Temple Heart and Vascular for PTE
Temple is one of the only centers on the East Coast that handles a high volume of PTE surgeries each year and only one of five centers in the nation specializing in CTEPH care.
PTE is a highly complex procedure, and should only be performed by skilled and practiced physicians. The specially trained surgeons and heart failure specialist of the Temple Pulmonary Hypertension, Right Heart Failure and Pulmonary Thromboendarterectomy Program are among a select few in the country with the degree of experience required to perform and medically manage patients undergoing this advanced procedure.
Included in this team are Paul Forfia, MD, Anjali Vaidya, MD, and Yoshiya Toyoda, MD, PhD, three of the nation’s leading CTEPH doctors. Together, they have drawn upon their diagnostic and surgical experience to successfully perform more than 95 PTE procedures and achieve a 97% overall success rate. Following surgery, patients are closely followed by the CTEPH team to help ensure a smooth recovery and optimal outcomes.
In the following video, Paul Forfia, MD, discusses the diagnosis of CTEPH and how it can be treated with pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE). Dr. Forfia's discussion of PTE includes the surgical process and recovery timeline: