Home - Link
Pulmonary Hypertension - Scottish Pulmonary Vascular Unit - Health Care Professional Section











Pulmonary thromboendarterctomy

Pulmonary thromboendarterctomy (PTE) offers a potential surgical cure for a subset of patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension affecting central pulmonary arteries (main, lobar, segmental). Establishing the diagnosis and the classification of the type of lesions by pulmonary angiography is crucial for optimal patient selection. PTE involves dissection of well organised thromboembolic material as well as part of the intimal layer of the pulmonary arterial bed. The procedure is currently performed via a median sternotomy with cardiopulmonary bypass, and involves profound induced hypothermia and periods of full circulatory arrest, during which time dissection of the thromboembolic material is accomplished. PTE is performed at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, which is the only UK centre to perform the procedure. To date, this surgical procedure has been performed on approximately 3000 patients, at a limited number of centres around the world. Initially, operative mortality rates were high, but with growing experience and refinement of the technique, these rates have decreased substantially.


Mayer, E et al. Techniques and outcomes of Pulmonary Endarterectomy for Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension. Proc Am Thorac Soc Vol 3. pp589-593,2006


Atrial septostomy

Atrial septostomy involves the creation of a right-to-left shunt at the atrial level. This procedure increases cardiac output and, despite the fall in systemic arterial oxygen saturation, augments systemic oxygen transport. In addition, the shunt decompresses the heart and ameliorates right heart failure. Atrial septostomy is used as a palliative measure or a bridge to lung transplantation in appropriately selected patients. In regions of the world without access to current medical therapies, atrial septostomy may be used as a primary therapy. The initial report of atrial septostomy in PAH was in 1983. However, experience with is still limited, and the optimal time to perform an atrial septostomy in these severely ill patients (if at all) remains to be established. The procedure is associated with a risk of serious morbidity (8%) and mortality (16%). Post procedural mortality and adverse outcomes have been attributed to several factors including co-morbidities such as severe renal impairment, older age, progressive cardiac failure and the development of severe hypoxemia. Guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians recommend that atrial septostomy should only be performed at institutions with significant expertise and experience of the procedure.


Reichenberger F et al. Atrial septostomy in the treatment of severe pulmonary arterial hypertension. Thorax 2003;58:797-800.


Lung and Heart-Lung Transplantation

In 1981, the first heart-lung transplantation was performed in a patient with IPAH. Lung transplantation is generally reserved for those failing the best available medical therapy. With the advent of effective drug treatments, selection of recipients and timing of the procedure has become more complex. Survival in patients who undergo lung transplantation is ~ 66% to 75% at 1 year. Most centres prefer double lung transplantation. Heart and lung transplantation is generally reserved for those with complex congenital heart disease.


Klepetko, W et al. Interventional and Surgical Modalities of Treatment of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. J Am Coll Cardiol 2004;43:73S-80S


SCOTTISH PULMONARY VASCULAR UNIT - All rights reserved - Clydebank, Scotland - 0141 951 5497 - SPVUnit@gjnh.scot.nhs.uk