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Pulmonary Hypertension

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What is Pulmonary Hypertension?

Pulmonary hypertension occurs when the blood pressure in the arteries between the heart and lungs is too high.

Several diseases are associated with this condition, including heart diseases such as congestive heart failure and lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and interstitial lung disease.

A correct diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension is a serious diagnosis no matter what the cause or other medical problems involved. Early, expert evaluation and treatment are important to protect the lungs.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension

Symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension can include:

  • Shortness of breath during activity
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Dizziness, especially on stairs or hills
  • Belly bloating
  • Swelling in the legs

UR Medicine's Treatments for Pulmonary Hypertension

In common practice, some doctors diagnose this condition based on tests that only estimate lung blood pressure. This is why it’s so important to have your test results evaluated and explained to you by true experts. URMC is the only program outside New York City that is accredited by the national Pulmonary Hypertension Association, and we were one of the first in the nation to achieve accreditation.

The UR Medicine Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic evaluates and manages many diseases, including:

  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)
  • Heart failure preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF)
  • Interstitial lung disease with Pulmonary Hypertension (ILD-PH)
  • Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH)
  • Pulmonary embolus, especially for those who were in the hospital
  • Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (also known as Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome), an unusual genetic disorder leading to “tangles” of tiny blood vessels on the lips and tongue
  • Digital ulcers (usually from scleroderma)
  • Pulmonary Hypertension complicating any other lung disease (COPD, sleep apnea, etc.)

We work with colleagues in cardiology, radiology, rheumatology, orthopedic surgery, and referring providers. Together we provide personalized care, treatment alternatives, risk assessments, opportunities for clinical research, and collaborations with other accredited center.

Numerous tests may be used in diagnosis, including:

  • Walking test to evaluate exercise capacity
  • Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart)
  • CT scan
  • Pulmonary function test
  • Blood tests
  • Sleep study
  • V/Q scan to look for chronic blood clots
  • Tests to measure the pressures in the heart and lung blood vessels or to visualize the lung blood vessels themselves.

We are experts in the many drugs available to treat pulmonary hypertension. Treatments help patients feel better, walk farther, and live longer. Many patients improve after we optimize medications that were started by less experienced physicians.

Our team also treats patients who have pulmonary hypertension and interstitial lung disease—a promising new opportunity for many patients who haven't had options before.

We often improve quality of life for people who have pulmonary hypertension associated with heart or lung disease. Many of these patients benefit from changes in their maintenance drug therapy, exercise instruction, and/or evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea.

Because sleep apnea is a major symptom, we help patients use CPAP or BiPAP devices even if they have had trouble previously. Good therapy for sleep apnea can improve patients’ lives greatly. 

What Sets Us Apart?

In 2016, UR Medicine became one of the first 30 groups in the nation to earn accreditation from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association as a Comprehensive Care Center. This recognizes excellence in diagnosis, research, and clinical care.

Colleagues in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Albany often ask their patients to visit with us for a second opinion or consultation because we’re usually able to improve their care.

Our experts, Drs. Daniel Lachant and Jim White, lead the field in the use of technology to better study and care for patients with pulmonary hypertension.

We have deep experience in managing the side effects and improving quality of life for treatments, which can be complex. We are global leaders in drug development, and Dr. White is the lead author on one of the few ‘event driven’ trials ever completed for this disease.

Drs. Lachant and White also worked with the Pulmonary Hypertension Association to develop specialized videos to help patients use exercise as treatment.

Dr. White is a frequent advisor to companies developing drugs for PH. He is also on the Pulmonary Hypertension Association’s Scientific Leadership Committee, recognizing his commitment to research and patient care across the nation. Drs. Lachant and White have written more than 15 papers together in the last five years on a range of topics about PH.

Because we’re part of an academic medical center, our patients have the opportunity to participate in major clinical trials testing the latest drug therapies. The University of Rochester Medical Center has led transformative clinical research. We are almost always participating in the latest industry and federally funded research for pulmonary hypertension.


Our care team is here for you. Find a UR Medicine expert and get care now.

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We serve you in the Rochester metropolitan area and surrounding region.

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1 locations

Mary Parkes Center for Asthma, Allergy & Pulmonary Care - Henrietta

Red Creek (Calkins Corporate Park)
400 Red Creek Drive, Suite 110
Rochester, NY 14623

Patient Education & Support

Clinical Trials

Our program is currently participating in several exciting clinical trials to investigate new drugs or new drug indications for pulmonary hypertension. You may wish to help others by participating in a clinical study while receiving the newest treatment available.

(585) 486-0869

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