Pulmonary Hypertension

In Maryland, University of Maryland Physicians Care for the Most Heart Surgery Patients - University of Maryland Medical Center

Our program is dedicated to patients with all types of pulmonary hypertension (PH). We treat a wide range of patients, including patients with complex, advanced forms of the disease. Our Pulmonary Hypertension Program is one of the only centers in the mid-Atlantic region offering the pulmonary thromboendarterectomy procedure, a complex surgery to treat chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH).

Pulmonary Hypertension Program at the University of Maryland

At our practice, you receive focused, comprehensive care from a team of experts who work together to manage your care effectively. We offer comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services to patients with all forms and stages of pulmonary hypertension. Features of our care include:

  • Expert team: Our team includes specialists from many different fields of medicine who have dedicated their careers to diagnosing and treating pulmonary hypertension. In addition, we coordinate with your referring physician, ensuring you receive smooth, integrated care. Meet our team.
  • One-stop care: Everything you need is in our medical center. From diagnostic procedures to surgery, you don’t need to travel elsewhere to get excellent, comprehensive care. We also offer care at our outreach practices in Westminster, the Eastern Shore and Upper Chesapeake. Visit our locations
  • Clinical trials: You have access to the latest medications and therapies to treat PH before they are available to the general public. 
  • Thorough follow-up care: PH requires intensive, ongoing follow-up care. We provide this, monitoring you closely during your treatment. We will adjust medications as necessary and discuss surgical options if medications are not sufficient. Our team is always available to talk to you and answer your questions. 

University of Maryland Medical Center's Dr. Gautam Ramani laughs with a patient.

Pulmonary Hypertension: Meet Our Team

Our clinic brings together many different experts in the field of pulmonary hypertension to offer you the most effective, comprehensive care available. Meet our team.

Our PH team includes:

  • Cardiologists
  • Cardiothoracic surgeons
  • Radiologists
  • Nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists
  • Catheterization specialists
  • Pharmacists
  • Social workers

Together, our team provides:

  • Initial consultation
  • Accurate diagnosis 
  • Individualized treatment for both primary and secondary forms of pulmonary hypertension

What is Pulmonary Hypertension?

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a lung disorder in which the blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries rises above normal levels. There are many causes of pulmonary hypertension. The increased pressure causes your body to have to work harder to pump blood through the lungs, and as a result, the right side of the heart becomes enlarged. As the disease progresses, right heart failure may develop.

There are several types of Pulmonary Hypertension:

  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH): This is a condition where the arteries that supply blood to the lungs become narrow. This increases the resistance to blood flow, resulting in higher lung pressures. 
  • Pulmonary Hypertension Due to Left Heart Disease: A condition where disorders of the left side of the heart, such as left heart failure, heart stiffening and valvular heart disease can result in PH.
  • Pulmonary Hypertension Due to Lung Disease: This is a condition where diseases that affect the lung tissue result in pressure elevation. These include obstructive sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and interstitial lung disease.
  • Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension(CTEPH): This is a condition where blood clots result in narrowing of the pulmonary arteries. If the blood clots do not fully dissolve, they can cause PH.
  • Miscellaneous: This includes a heterogenous group of disorders, including kidney disease, and anemias, which can cause PH of varying severity.

Diagnosing Pulmonary Hypertension

We perform a series of tests to show how your heart and lungs are working, in order to help us diagnose pulmonary hypertension. These tests help determining the cause of PH, the severity of PH, and help in developing a treatment plan. Tests include electrocardiogram, ventilation/perfusion scan, right heart cardiac catheterization, and echocardiogram. Learn more about cardiac diagnosis.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension

Early on, you may have subtle or few symptoms, making it challenging to diagnose PH. Symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain, especially during physical activity
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Lightheadedness during exercise
  • Dizziness (especially when climbing stairs or upon standing up)
  • Leg and ankle swelling
  • Physical examination that shows: enlargement of the neck veins, normal lungs, a heart murmur, enlargement of the liver and swelling due to fluid retention.

Treating Pulmonary Hypertension

PH is a chronic condition that can become life threatening. Treatment options include:

  • Medications: There are many medication options available to you. Our patients have many more options than in the past as well as improved life expectancy. The goal of medical treatment is to slow the progress of the disease and improve your symptoms. We will discuss the possible medications with you and create a personalized plan for you.
  • Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE): This is the only known cure for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. We are one of the few medical centers in the country offering this procedure. Learn more about PTE.
  • Lung transplant: If the medications are not providing sufficient relief, we will discuss a lung transplant evaluation. Learn more about lung transplant.

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 1-866-408-6885.

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