Pulmonary Hypertension

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Advances in Specialty Care

The WMCHealth Heart and Vascular Institute’s exceptional treatment of pulmonary hypertension provides patients leading-edge, specialized cardiology services.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare disease that attacks small arteries in lungs, causing elevated pressure that stresses the heart’s right side. Extremely difficult to diagnose, this disease has several forms, usually runs in families, and often is associated with autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma, HIV, liver disease and use of methamphetamines. This form of pulmonary hypertension is found in only one in 12 million people.

The one-year survival rate is 97 percent, and the three-year survival rate is 90 percent, surpassing outcomes in the Registry to Evaluate Early and Long-Term PAH Disease Management, known as the REVEAL Registry.

The WMCHealth Heart and Vascular Institute is capitalizing on the broad power of its network to build this critical program under the leadership of Gregg M. Lanier, MD, Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Program, and Director of the Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology Fellowship Program.

A Multidisciplinary Approach for a Difficult Diagnosis

Very few centers treat pulmonary arterial hypertension. For our team at the WMCHealth Heart and Vascular Institute, the most important mission of a comprehensive pulmonary hypertension program is to first establish the correct diagnosis, as the treatment depends on the cause. The diagnostic evaluation of a patient with pulmonary hypertension requires multiple tests and specialists working in consultation within the Pulmonary Hypertension Program.

The disease is treated with oral, inhaled, intravenous and subcutaneous medications. It may require, in certain cases, surgical intervention or lung transplantation. Multidisciplinary specialists from several departments collaborate in this endeavor. That approach is a hallmark of WMCHealth.

Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension Treatment

Ramin Malekan, MD, of the WMCHealth Heart and Vascular Institute, has expertise in treating patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, a relatively rare type of pulmonary hypertension. The treatment is performed in only a few places in the United States, including Westchester Medical Center. Dr. Malekan reports a 96 percent survival rate in over 20 patients, which has led to referrals from across the New York metropolitan area and beyond.

During surgery, Dr. Malekan uses special machinery that draws the patient’s blood, oxygenates it and pumps it back into the body. Prior to surgery, the patient takes blood thinners to optimize machine function. In addition to removing large clots from arteries, Dr. Malekan removes smaller clots in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension patients – a technique performed in patients with chronic disease. This has yielded very positive results for Dr. Malekan’s patients.

Because large pulmonary hypertension centers play a key role in advancing research into the treatment and understanding of this disease, WMCHealth and New York Medical College, the academic affiliate of Westchester Medical Center, are studying the disease as part of their new cardiovascular Translational Science Institute. Using an Institute grant, a project is underway to study molecular markers, mechanisms and possible treatment modalities in a pulmonary arterial hypertension-scleroderma model. Other clinical studies, including multi-site clinical trials, are ongoing.

Appointments, Referrals and Information

866.WMC.HEART (866.962.4327)

Westchester Medical Center Ambulatory Care Pavilion
100 Woods Road
Valhalla, NY 10595

Learn more about Pulmonary Hypertension treatment at Westchester Medical Center.