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Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH)

What Is CTEPH?

Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is a rare and potentially fatal form of elevated blood pressure in the lungs (known as pulmonary hypertension). It occurs when blood vessels in the lung have been blocked by a clot for a long time.

The clots that trigger CTEPH often start elsewhere, such as in the leg, and travel through the veins and heart to become lodged in the lung. This type of clot in the lung is called a pulmonary embolism (PE). Over half of patients with CTEPH are not aware they have had a PE.

While most pulmonary embolisms can be easily dissolved with blood thinners, those that cannot are considered chronic. This accounts for about 3%-5% of all PE cases.

In CTEPH, the clot extends within the artery, clings to the artery wall and resembles scar tissue. This increases pulmonary pressure, reduces blood flow into the lungs and can trigger narrowing of other blood vessels throughout the lung.


When symptoms of CTEPH start to develop, they can cause:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Chest pain
  • Racing heartbeat

As the condition worsens, it may ultimately limit all physical activity.

Candidates for PTE Surgery

When left untreated, patients with CTEPH have a life expectancy of between 1 and 3 years. Fortunately, a procedure called pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) can significantly improve quality of life for patients who are candidates for surgery. Patients who aren’t medically eligible for PTE may still benefit from medication or balloon angioplasty.

Why Choose Temple Heart & Vascular Institute?

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Paul Forfia, MD, discusses CTEPH, an underdiagnosed condition. He also talks about a specialized surgical procedure called PTE that is potentially curative for the condition.
Paul Forfia, MD, discusses CTEPH, an underdiagnosed condition. He also talks about a specialized surgical procedure called PTE that is potentially curative for the condition.

Temple’s pulmonary hypertension team is one of the most active and experienced in the United States. Our team is comprised of nationally recognized physicians and surgeons who excel in diagnosing and treating complex conditions such as CTEPH.

Our team is dedicated entirely to the management of patients with pulmonary hypertension. We continually strive to use the most sophisticated technologies and procedures when treating this condition.

PTE surgery is an advanced treatment for CTEPH that is offered by only a handful of hospitals in the nation, including Temple Heart and Vascular Institute. We have performed more than 425 PTE procedures to date and boast a 96% success rate overall.

Ready for an Appointment?

Before your first appointment, the CTEPH team will review all your medical records and tests. Most of our patients who meet the initial criteria for treatment — PTE surgery or balloon angioplasty — are able to have a virtual video appointment before their initial consultation. If you're a candidate for PTE surgery or balloon angioplasty, you will come in for a safe in-person visit with your CTEPH team to receive additional testing before surgery.

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of CTEPH, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.