Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension

Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH)

Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH) is a rare, but potentially life-threatening type of high blood pressure in the lungs. It is characterized by an obstruction in the pulmonary arteries (blood vessels in the lungs) resulting from multiple blockages or clots. If left untreated, these blockages create an increased pressure on the right side of the heart and lead to heart failure.

CTEPH is more likely to occur in individuals with a history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that forms in the veins of the leg, or a history of pulmonary embolism, a blood clot that travels to the lungs. Other risk factors for CTEPH include a prior medical condition or injury that caused scarring or narrowing of the blood vessels in the lungs, a history of having a previous stroke, or a history of heart or lung surgery.

Patients with CTEPH experience a range of symptoms due to the blockages in the pulmonary arteries. Common symptoms include shortness of breath (dyspnea), chest pain, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness. Other physical manifestations may include swollen ankles and legs, difficulty walking, and feeling light headed upon standing.

Diagnosis of CTEPH requires a complete medical history, physical examination, imaging tests, and laboratory tests. Imaging tests include chest x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests. Additional laboratory tests to help confirm a diagnosis include pulmonary function tests, electrocardiograms (ECGs), and blood tests.

Treatment of CTEPH involves managing the blockages in the pulmonary arteries. Treatment typically focuses on lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and following a healthy diet, as well as medications to help reduce blockage in the pulmonary arteries. In cases that are more severe, surgery may be required to remove the blockages and restore normal blood flow in the lungs. Additionally, patients may be referred to a specialized medical center for further evaluation and treatment if necessary.


There are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing CTEPH. Individuals should be aware of the risk factors for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism and should seek prompt medical attention if they experience any symptoms. Additionally, individuals should be aware of their family history of underlying medical conditions that could increase the risk of developing CTEPH. Following a healthy lifestyle, including eating a balanced diet and regular exercise, is also important in helping to prevent and manage the condition.


Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by obstructed pulmonary arteries. It is associated with a history of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and other risk factors. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue as well as other physical manifestations. Diagnosis requires imaging and laboratory tests and treatment depends on the extent of the blockage. Managing the condition requires lifestyle changes as well as medications and/or surgery. Lastly, prevention involves knowing the risk factors as well as following a healthy lifestyle.