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Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension

CTEPH care at Allegheny Health Network

Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is a rare condition that is difficult to diagnose. If you have CTEPH, it can have a huge impact on your life. You may feel tired a lot and find it difficult to work or maintain a regular routine.

For advanced, high-quality options for treatment, look no further than Allegheny Health Network (AHN). AHN is one of a small group of health systems in the United States that treats CTEPH with both balloon angioplasty (BPA) and surgical thromboendarterectomy (PTE), according to the U.S. CTEPH Registry.

Our program within the AHN Cardiovascular Institute is led by internationally renowned cardiologists and surgeons. They collaborate on your evaluation and treatment with your referring physician and other specialists. We take a compassionate approach to patient care, putting your needs at the center of everything we do.

What is CTEPH?

CTEPH is a rare form of pulmonary hypertension that restricts the flow of blood from your heart to your lungs. This is caused by scar tissue or an untreated blood clot in a blood vessel in your lungs. People who have CTEPH usually get winded walking from one side of the room to the other.

Most patients who develop a blood clot in their lungs (pulmonary embolism or PE) take blood thinning drugs to dissolve it and help prevent future clots from forming. Out of almost half a million patients in the United States who are diagnosed with acute PE every year, four to eight percent will eventually develop CTEPH, even with the medication. It is also possible for patients to have CTEPH without any known history of PE.

CTEPH symptoms

See your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired, faint, or dizzy
  • Chest pain
  • Leg swelling

Testing for CTEPH

Specialists use these methods to test for CTEPH:

  • Chest X-ray and electrocardiogram (EKG), which analyzes your heartbeat
  • Blood work
  • Echocardiogram (an ultrasound of your heart)
  • Lung ventilation-perfusion scan (measures air and blood flow and blood supply in your lungs)
  • Right heart catheterization (a small catheter is inserted to examine the pressures in your heart and lungs) and pulmonary angiography (X-ray of your pulmonary blood vessels)
  • Computerized tomography (CT) angiogram of chest (X-ray of the arteries that supply your heart and lungs with blood)
  • Coronary angiography (a catheter is inserted to examine the anatomy of your heart’s blood vessels)
  • Pulmonary function studies 

About us

Our pulmonary hypertension (PH) program has a national reputation for delivering high-quality care. It was first in western Pennsylvania to receive accreditation as a Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) Center from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. Dr. Raymond Benza at Allegheny General Hospital leads the AHN PH program. He is the director of advanced heart failure, transplantation, mechanical circulatory support, and pulmonary vascular disease within the AHN Cardiovascular Institute.

Dr. Benza is recognized throughout the international PH community for his expertise and management of PH, including chronic thromboembolic disease and right-sided heart failure. He is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications in the field. He has conducted and participated in several national and international clinical trials. Dr. Benza has also contributed heavily to both translational and clinical aspects of PH research.

Contact us to learn more about CTEPH care at AHN.

  • Patients: call Terri Thieret at 412-359-4869.
  • Physicians: for urgent referrals, contact the doctor on call 24 hours a day via One-Call at 412-359-8066. For non-urgent referrals, contact Terri Thieret at 412-359-4869

Our CTEPH team

Pulmonary Hypertesion Cardiology
Richa Agarwal, MD
Raymond Benza, MD
Manreet Kanwar, MD
Srinivas Murali, MD
Maria Patarroyo Aponte, MD
Andrew Pogozelski, MD
Amresh Raina, MD

Interventional Cardiology
Mithun Chakravarthy, MD

Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
Robert Moraca, MD

Nuclear Medicine
David Barker, MD
Robin Greenspan, MD

Radiology
Timothy Mickus, MD
Jeffrey Mueller, MD

Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine
Subbarao Elapavaluru, MD

CTEPH Coordinator
Terri Thieret, RN 

Additional resources

Read more about CTEPH: