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Pulmonary endarterectomy service

Pulmonary endarterectomy service

Papworth Hospital is the only centre in the UK offering this surgery. Pulmonary endarterectomy (PEA, also known as PTE) is a surgical operation in which the blood vessels of the lungs are cleared of clot and scar material. In a large proportion of patients who undergo this operation, their level of activity, quality of life and life expectancy are significantly improved and pulmonary endarterectomy surgery can be thought of as a cure for most patients.

What is Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH)?

CTEPH is a form of pulmonary hypertension that occurs as the result of blood clots blocking off the arteries of the lungs. Whilst most of these blood clots originate in the veins , many people with this condition may be unaware that these clots are forming. Over time, the blood clots build up in the blood vessels of the lungs which become permanently scarred with narrowing and decreased blood flow finally resulting in increased pressure and resistance to blood flow in the lungs leading to pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure. When severe, this situation leads to increasing breathlessness, limitation in exercise and reduced life expectancy.

What is a pulmonary endarterectomy?

Pulmonary endarterectomy (PEA, also known as PTE) is a surgical operation in which the blood vessels of the lungs are cleared of clot and scar material. Although this sounds simple, it is actually technically very difficult to get access to the arteries of the lungs, and the procedure itself is a major undertaking. For this reason it is necessary to ensure that patients who might potentially benefit from this operation are thoroughly evaluated. Not everyone with CTEPH will be suitable for this operation, and a number of additional investigations must be performed in order to assess the appropriateness of surgery and the level of risk involved. However in a large proportion of patients who undergo this operation, their level of activity, quality of life and life expectancy are significantly improved and pulmonary endarterectomy surgery can be thought of as a cure for most patients.

Prior to being accepted for surgery, you will have the opportunity to discuss the operation in detail with the surgeon and other members of the team at Papworth Hopsital. Should you or your family have any questions or concerns they will be happy to address them prior to any decisions being made.

What if I am not suitable for surgery?

The majority of patients (70-80%) referred to our service will benefit from surgery. Occasionally the type of disease may not be appropriate for surgery, or the patient may be too well or unwell to undergo the operation. In this circumstance you will be followed carefully and there may be some medical treatments available that can help improve the severity of pulmonary hypertension. At present, Papworth Hospital is working closely with other centres around the world to develop more effective treatments for this condition.

Further information

If you would like further information regarding CTEPH or pulmonary endarterectomy (PE) please email our PE Specialist Nurses pte.nurses@papworth.nhs.uk

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