Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) is a surgical procedure used to remove blood clots and restore blood flow to the lungs for patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH).

Patients with CTEPH have blood clots that cause the arteries which carry blood through the lungs (pulmonary arteries) to become narrow. This slows the flow of blood from the heart to the lungs, and can make a person very sick.

PTE surgery is an advanced procedure that may cure CTEPH. While not widely available, experts at the University of Maryland's Pulmonary Hypertension Center of Comprehensive Care have been performing this delicate, complex surgery for years.

To learn more about our program or to make an appointment, call 410-328-7260.

Who is a Candidate for PTE?

The best candidates for PTE are patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (also known as pulmonary thromboembolic disease), including those with heart failure who are able to move around independently.

We evaluate each patient individually to make sure PTE is the right treatment option for them.

PTE Surgery: What to Expect

PTE is a very delicate surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia. We will:

  1. Make an incision in your chest and attach you to a heart-lung bypass machine.
  2. Cool your body to approximately 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler body temperature reduces your body's need for oxygen.
  3. Open the arteries blocked by the clots.
  4. The heart-lung machine is turned off to create a bloodless surgical field.
  5. While there is no blood flow, we carefully extract the clots from the pulmonary artery walls.
  6. Repeat this on-off process with the heart-lung bypass machine until we extract all of the clots.
  7. Sew the arteries closed, restore blood flow and close your chest incision.

PTE Surgery Recovery

It will probably take you about four weeks to fully recover from the surgery. Even if you did not come into the hospital on oxygen there is a chance you may temporarily require oxygen while your lungs heal. PTE surgery restores blood flow to lung segments and improves lung function and capacity. After surgery, you can breathe much better because it improves the heart failure, which is what contributed to your shortness of breath. After the surgery, these symptoms disappear.

After surgery, you usually only require a blood thinner/anticoagulant. We will also perform follow-up scans to evaluate blood flow through the lungs.

Make an Appointment

To learn more about our program or to make an appointment, call 410-328-7260.

PHA Center of Comprehensive Care