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Northwestern MedicineBehind BCVI: An Overview of PTE w. Dr. Chiu

Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) offers significant symptom improvement for patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), highlighting the necessity of specialized care centers for optimal outcomes.

Dr. Stephen F. Chiu, a cardiac surgeon at Northwestern Medicine, shares his insights on pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE), a specialized surgical procedure for treating chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). In a discussion with Dr. Patrick M. McCarthy, executive director of Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, Dr. Chiu emphasizes the importance of patient selection, comprehensive care, and the role of specialized centers in achieving successful outcomes for CTEPH patients.

Key Points:

  • Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) is a specialized surgery for patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH).
  • Dr. Stephen F. Chiu completed advanced training in cardiac surgery at Papworth Hospital, a high-volume center specializing in CTEPH.
  • Optimal candidates for PTE include patients with residual blockages in lung arteries post-pulmonary embolism who exhibit elevated pulmonary pressures.
  • More than 75% of patients undergoing PTE report significant symptom improvement.
  • PTE reduces heart strain over time and improves right ventricular function and pulmonary artery pressures.
  • Successful PTE involves removing thrombi from both proximal and distal branches of the pulmonary arteries, which requires high technical skill.
  • Specialized centers are crucial for PTE due to the complexity of reaching smaller arterial branches.
  • Dr. Chiu conducts research on the development of CTEPH, postoperative complications, and strategies to minimize surgical risks.

“The key—and the reason why patients should come to specialized centers for this surgery—is getting out into those branches, where the vessel sizes are just a few millimeters large.”
– Dr. Stephen F. Chiu

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