Specialized care for those with Pulmonary Hypertension continues to improve across America, with an increasing number of physicians and clinics that are designed to give those with PH the therapy and guidance needed to increase quality of life while living with the disease. Most recently, Kentuckiana Pulmonary Associates of Louisville — a small medical practice founded in 1998, with a specialty in pulmonary care, critical care and sleep medicine — has just been accredited by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. KPA joins only five other medical centers in the country to receive this prestigious accreditation, as part of a nationwide program to improve quality of diagnosis and care for patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH). Dr. Wes McConnell, one of the 8 physicians at KPA, said in a recent press release that most PH patients die less than 3 years after being diagnosed with this serious cardiopulmonary disease.
Pulmonary hypertension is a disease characterized by increased systolic blood pressure in the pulmonary vasculature. This results in inadequate oxygenation, which can greatly affect patients’ quality of life and tolerance for physical activity. When blood cannot be efficiently pumped from the heart to the lungs, back flow occurs, overloading the right ventricle and causing it to hypertrophy as a means of compensation. Early PH manifestations are frequently non-distinct respiratory symptoms, causing clinicians to give an inaccurate diagnosis of COPD. Sometimes, it is only when a patient exhibits signs of right side heart failure that the problem is traced to PH.
Dr. McConnell explained that research “. . . has proved that patients need to go to centers that have expertise in the area so they’ll have better outcomes and live longer” — a perspective that has led the PHA and pulmonary care centers such as Kentuckiana Pulmonary Associates to optimize their clinical care practices to address the specific needs of PH patients when necessary.
The other five PHA-accredited centers in the United States are located in the following regions:
- Fairfax, Va.,
- Philadelphia, Pa.,
- Cincinnati, Ohio,
- Santa Barbara, Calif., and
- Stanford, Calif.
Kentuckiana Pulmonary Associates is the only PHA-accredited center independent of a research institution or university. Dr. McConnell said that the center conducts its own research initiatives while administering quality patient care, education and support services.
In other PH news, researchers were able to observe encouraging outcomes of a curative procedure for the only curable form of PH, Chronic thrombolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), via magnetic resonance imaging. They noted Evidence that after a successful pulmonary endarterectomy (PEA), pulmonary vascular hemodynamics can return to normal. The study, titled, “Right ventricular adaptation to pulmonary pressure load in patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension before and after successful pulmonary endarterectomy — a cardiovascular magnetic resonance study,” is published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance.