Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

Pulmonary Hypertension and Thromboendarterectomy Program

The Pulmonary Hypertension and Thromboendarterectomy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital is committed to the state-of-the-art evaluation, treatment and support of patients with all forms of pulmonary hypertension.

  • Phone: 617-724-3705

Leading-Edge Treatments

We use a multidisciplinary approach to pulmonary hypertension (PH) that allows us to develop a plan of care that is individualized to your needs. All approved medical and surgical treatments for pulmonary hypertension are available to you. Our involvement in numerous research trials allows us to provide you and your family with unique treatment options and the most up-to-date therapies.

Compassionate Care

We understand that being diagnosed with PH can be scary and confusing for many patients, which is why our team is dedicated to supporting and educating patients and their families on the disease. We encourage you to learn as much as possible about your disease, medications and therapies, which is why we run an active Patient Support Group. Our Patient Support Group is composed of doctors, nurses, family and friends who share their personal stories about PH to help educate each other in a welcoming environment.

The care you receive from us extends beyond your office visit. We make every effort to ensure that you continue receiving the best possible care when you return home and make ourselves available to you for any questions and concerns you may have.

Your First Appointment

If you would like to request an appointment, please call us at 617-724-3705. We ask that you have any relevant medical records faxed to our office for review prior to your appointment. Please bring all relevant test results to your first visit, including hard copies (or digital films on CD) of your Chest CT scans and/or Chest x-rays.

At your first appointment, you will see Dr. Richard N. Channick who will review your medical history, perform a physical evaluation, and order any necessary follow-up tests. Our nurses and administrative staff will communicate next steps in your treatment plan.

About This Program

Making the diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) and determining optimal treatment requires a skilled, experienced team. Given the number of conditions that can lead to PH and the number of effective therapies available for this disorder, each individual requires a comprehensive evaluation. Many disorders are associated with PH, including:

  • Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH)
  • Connective tissue disease (e.g. scleroderma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Liver disease
  • HIV
  • COPD (emphysema)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Pulmonary emboli (blood clots in the lungs)

Evaluation

Before you even have your first appointment with us, our experts will review your records and previous x-rays, to determine the best initial course of action. Additional testing may be scheduled prior to your first visit. These tests might include: pulmonary function tests, ventilation-perfusion scan, echocardiogram, chest x-ray, and blood work. At the time of your visit, additional tests may be arranged. Depending on the results, a right heart catheterization might be recommended. If there is concern about blood clots in your lungs, a pulmonary angiogram (dye injected into the pulmonary artery) might be recommended.

Treatment

Pulmonary hypertension is a very treatable disease. All available therapies for pulmonary hypertension are offered by our program. Dr. Channick, the Director, pioneered or contributed to the development of many of these therapies, including:

Medications

  • Prostacyclins: Medications given either intravenously, by the inhaled route, or subcutaneously
  • Endothelin receptor antagonists (bosentan, ambrisentan): Oral therapies that block the harmful effects on the blood vessels of endothelin
  • PDE-5 inhibitors (sildenafil, tadalafil): Oral therapies that increase the beneficial effects of nitric oxide on the pulmonary blood vessels

Surgery

  • Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE): In collaboration with our Surgical Director, Dr. Cameron Wright and Cardiac Surgeon, Dr. Gus Vlahakes, patients with chronic (old) blood clots in the lungs may be candidates for this operation to remove these clots. Removal of the blood clots from the lung arteries, in many cases, leads to a cure of the PH. Dr. Channick has diagnosed and cared for over 1,000 patients with this disorder
  • Lung transplantation: Depending on your response to other treatments, you may be referred to our lung transplantation program, directed by Dr. Todd Astor

Research

In attempts to better understand PH and develop new, effective treatments, we are involved in many research studies. You may have the opportunity to participate in one of these cutting-edge studies. Your participation is, of course, completely voluntary and your decision regarding enrolling in a study will, in no way, affect the care you receive from us.

Primary Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is a lung disorder in which the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery rises far above normal levels.

Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot that develops in a blood vessel elsewhere in the body (most commonly from the leg), travels to an artery in the lung, and forms an occlusion (blockage) of the artery.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Road to recovery: Pedaling past PTE

The MGH offers pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE), a highly specialized operation to remove chronic blood clots in the lungs.