The Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Program at UPMC has been added to the short list of programs nationwide to earn accreditation by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) as a Center of Comprehensive Care. UPMC is one of 39 medical centers nationally to receive the distinction for the quality of its pulmonary hypertension program.
“The accreditation is an important component in recognizing the exceptional care that we offer our patients,” said Stephen Y. Chan, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and director, UPMC Center for Pulmonary Vascular Biology and Medicine at the Vascular Medicine Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. “With the significant resources and expertise that we are focusing on pulmonary hypertension, this accreditation and our already sterling reputation as a first-class research center in pulmonary hypertension make us one of the top programs in the world for both research and clinical care.”
Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure that occurs in the arteries in the lungs, making it difficult for blood to flow from the heart to the lungs. Symptoms of the disease, which can lead to heart failure, include shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain, and in its early stages might not be noticeable for months or even years. A rare and life-threatening condition, it becomes progressively worse, making early and accurate diagnosis important to allow treatment methods to extend and improve the quality of life for many patients.
Featuring one of the largest multidisciplinary teams in the country, the UPMC Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Program is a joint program of the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute and the Pitt Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine. It offers state-of-the-art diagnostics and a full range of therapy, as well as opportunity for patients to participate in cutting-edge clinical research aimed at improving diagnosis and treatment methods.
“Many centers have one or two people focused on pulmonary hypertension, but here at UPMC we have more than 60 people—researchers, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and clinical practitioners—all committed to fighting this disease,” Dr. Chan said. “We are pushing discovery forward, and getting closer to the point of creating new therapies that won’t just make our patients feel better, but rather will help reverse, prevent and hopefully cure pulmonary hypertension.”
The accreditation process began two years ago and is based on criteria established by the PHA that includes the program’s overall commitment to patients with the disease, scope of services offered and expertise of the care team. Programs that receive the distinction also agree to contribute to the PHA Registry, a new patient registry used to evaluate outcomes for people living with pulmonary hypertension to help researchers learn more about the disease.