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When Should You See a Specialist? Early Detection Is Key to Treating PH

Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is one form of pulmonary hypertension caused by old blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary emboli). This occurs when blood clots break off and travel into the lungs, getting stuck in a blood vessel. These blood clots cause a blockage, leading to high blood pressure in the lungs and affecting the heart-to-lung system.

Treatments are available

It is possible for CTEPH to develop from multiple small clots over a long period of time and not from just one or two large blood clots. Patients who are already showing signs of pulmonary hypertension (PH) at the time of a diagnosis of blood clots in the lungs may also have an increased likelihood of developing CTEPH.

People living with CTEPH may be candidates for a pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE), a surgical procedure to remove the chronic clots that can significantly reduce or even normalize blood pressure in the lungs. People living with CTEPH who are not able to have PTE, and those with PH that remains after surgery, may be candidates for an FDA-approved oral medication.

Know the risks

PH is high blood pressure in the lungs. It is a progressive disease often misdiagnosed that can lead to right heart failure. PH, which affects adults and children of all ages, can exist alone or in association with other conditions such as scleroderma, lupus and other connective tissue diseases; congenital heart disease; chronic liver disease; HIV; congestive heart failure; COPD; and other illnesses.

Since PH often mimics symptoms of asthma and other less threatening illnesses, many people may go months or years without an accurate diagnosis. Adults and children of all ages can develop PH. Currently, there is no cure for PH.

The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the country’s leading pulmonary hypertension organization. PHA’s mission is to extend and improve the lives of those affected by PH; its vision is a world without PH, empowered by hope. PHA achieves this by connecting and working together with the entire PH community of patients, families, health care professionals and researchers. 

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