Cardiovascular Institute

Treatments

The Cardiovascular Institute offers patients with pulmonary hypertension the most advanced medication-based treatments, including oral, inhaled, subcutaneous and intravenous therapies. Our patients also have access to the latest combination therapies and multiple clinical trials that give you direct access to new, promising options.

Medications: Historically, the only oral medications available were calcium channel blockers, which were effective in up to 10 percent of patients. Within the past few years, bosentan, a non-selective endothelin receptor antagonist; sildenafil and tadalafil, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors; and ambrisentan, a new selective endothelin receptor antagonist, have been approved by the FDA for chronic oral therapy. Prostanoids, trepostinil, and iloprost, another inhaled prostanoid are also approved medications.

Lung and heart-lung transplant remain the only curative therapies and are recommended for select patients with progressive pulmonary hypertension symptoms who do not respond to medical therapy. Our transplant surgeons are among the best in the country, and our survival rates are even higher than the national average.

 

Treatment for CTEPH

Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) involves removing large, life-threatening blood clots and extensive scar tissue from your lungs. A surgeon opens your chest to expose the pulmonary arteries and utilizing cardiopulmonary bypass to stop the heart and cool the body to about 18 degrees Centigrade (64 degrees Fahrenheit). This reduces your body’s need for oxygen and allows the surgical team to halt the bypass machine periodically to create a bloodless surgical field.
 

While no blood is being pumped through your arteries, the surgeon opens the vessels and carefully removes the scar tissue blocking the arteries to restore normal blood flow to your lungs and cure the pulmonary hypertension. Patients are typically discharged from the hospital in about a week with normal pulmonary pressures. Within about eight weeks, patients’ breathing and quality of life should improve considerably. In addition, the right heart dysfunction that typically occurs as a result of the disease tends to resolve completely.