Penn Heart and Vascular

Overview of the Pulmonary Hypertension Program

Improving Quality of Life for People with High Blood Pressure in the Lungs

The Pulmonary Hypertension Program at Penn offers the most effective treatments available to slow the progression of pulmonary hypertension, and even reverse some of the damage to the lungs and heart.

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a condition of abnormally high blood pressure in the lungs, typically caused by common heart and lung diseases like congestive heart failure (CHF) or emphysema. Pulmonary hypertension due to disease in the blood vessels of the lungs, pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is more rare. Just 20 years ago, patients with pulmonary hytertension and especially pulmonary arterial hypertension had very few options for the management of their disease.

Pulmonary Hypertension Requires Comprehensive Care

Successful treatment of pulmonary hytertension and pulmonary arterial hypertension requires health care professionals with a breadth and depth of expertise, sophisticated treatments, and close monitoring. The Pulmonary Hypertension Program at Penn’s Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine offers all three.

  • The entire spectrum of medical and surgical treatments for pulmonary hypertension is available at Penn.
  • Pulmonary hypertension physicians, thoracic surgeons, radiologists and lung pathologists at Penn are leading experts in their respective fields with a 20-year history of collaborative practice.
  • The Pulmonary Hypertension clinic located at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine is staffed by expert physicians and dedicated advanced care nurse practitioners who are specially trained to care for patients with pulmonary hypertension and dedicated to providing close outpatient follow up.

Physician Expertise is the Key to Better Outcomes

Since there are many possible causes for pulmonary hypertension, accurate diagnosis is critical. Penn physicians conduct a detailed and comprehensive diagnostic evaluation to precisely pinpoint underlying factors leading to the development of pulmonary hypertension and to assess its severity.

The pulmonary hypertension team precisely tailors treatments for every patient. Treatments include:

  • Oral, inhaled, and intravenous (pump-infused) medications. These new classes of drugs have just become available in the last decade. Penn specialists are well versed in how to use and combine them to best effect and how to minimize the side effects.
  • Thromboendarterectomy for patients whose pulmonary hypertension is caused by small blood clots in the pulmonary artery. Surgeons at Penn are mastering this complicated procedure and simultaneously exploring other surgical options.
  • Advanced heart failure therapies. Penn’s multispecialty heart failure team offers offer a complete continuum of care as a patient’s disease evolves. This includes mechanical circulatory support options.
  • Heart and/or lung transplantation for patients who qualify. The Penn Transplant Institute has an extraordinary history of outstanding outcomes for both organ and patient survival.