Temple Health celebrates lung surgery milestone

Temple University Hospital performed its 200th lung hypertension surgery.

Chief of the Section of Cardiology at Temple University Hospital Daniel Edmundowicz speaks during the hospital’s Pulmonary Hypertension, Right Heart Failure and Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension program event at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine on Sept. 9, 2019. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University Hospital recently completed its 200th pulmonary thromboendarterectomy, a complex medical procedure that deals with hypertension in the lung that is only offered at a small number of U.S. hospitals.

The Pulmonary Hypertension, Right Heart Failure & Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension program also recently earned Temple the designation of a Comprehensive Care Center by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, according to a hospital press release. 

Only 40 other hospitals in the nation provide similar types of care, according to the association’s website.

The Katz School of Medicine’s Education and Research Building held an event celebrating the program’s two accomplishments on Monday evening. Former patients of the program, residents and several nurses and technicians attended the event.

Temple treats patients with all forms of pulmonary hypertension but specializes in CTEPH, a condition in which a person has survived a blockage of an artery that can develop permanent clots in the lungs, said Paul Forfia, co-director of the program. 

PTE, a form of open-chest surgery, removes embolisms, which are life-threatening blockages in the pulmonary arteries associated with CTEPH, Forfia said.

It is hard for other hospitals to perform the procedure due to the expert staff needed to properly diagnose CTEPH and the complex surgery needed to treat it, said Daniel Edmundowicz, the chief of the section of cardiology.

The Pulmonary Hypertension, Right Heart Failure & CTEPH program at Temple boasts a 97 percent success rate in PTEs, according to its website. TUH’s CTEPH Program is the leading medical center on the East Coast with a focus on the disease, said Anjali Vaidya, the co-director of the program. 

Vaidya predicts that the program will be more expansive and include patients from other countries in the future, she said. 

“Our goal for the next generation is to continue to build and grow in our efforts and to train and educate so that there are many, many more centers just like this in the future, to contribute to this global mission,” Vaidya said. 

William Auger, a clinical professor of medicine, said Temple’s CTEPH program is of the highest quality.

“Yes, there are a couple of places that do these procedures here and there,” Auger said. “But this is really the central center, which is the reason for the celebration. And the recognition? It’s well-deserved.”  

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