University of Virginia Pulmonary Hypertension Center Earns PHA Accreditation

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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The University of Virginia’s (UVA) Pulmonary Hypertension Center has been recognized as a Center of Comprehensive Care by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).

The PHA-accredited PH Care Centers initiative aims to establish an accreditation program for centers with special expertise in pulmonary hypertension (PH), particularly pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The idea is to raise the overall quality of care and improve outcomes in patients with the condition.

Once considered to be fatal, PAH can now be treated with several medications, all developed in the past 20 years. But despite medical advances, the median time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis is still a little over a year. Many patients will see three or more specialists during this period, and it is critical to assure that they receive specialized care in PH.

“There is an urgent need for medical institutions to accurately diagnose, treat and provide support for PH patients,” Andrew Mihalek, a UVA pulmonologist, said in a press release.

According to the PHA, Centers of Comprehensive Care “provide comprehensive PH care with well-organized systems, services, facilities, highly trained and experienced physicians and PH team members, with emphasis on quality.”

“Our hope is that the PHA accreditation raises our profile to help us better connect with healthcare professionals throughout our community and ensure that more people living with PH receive the right diagnosis early and accurately and that they will get the very best care available,” added Sula Mazimba, a UVA cardiologist.

UVA’s Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic coordinates care for patients with a multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, pulmonologists, and nurse coordinators. The teams also often include specialists in rheumatology, interstitial lung disease, lung transplantation, palliative care, genetics, and nutrition.

“We are honored to be recognized for our team’s work to provide the full range of care to meet the complex health needs of our patients with pulmonary hypertension,” said Jamie Kennedy, a UVA cardiologist.

The PHA-accredited PH Care Centers initiative was launched in early 2011, to assure outstanding care in PH, by the PHA’s scientific leadership council. There are more than 50 PHA-accredited PH Care Centers in the country.