The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) has awarded the Pulmonary Hypertension Center at Rhode Island Hospital through its accreditation program, making it one of the nation’s first centers of its kind to receive the award. The accreditation assures that pulmonary hypertension patients at the hospital receive the best and most advanced care available in the United States.
The PHA’s goal with the accreditation program is to ultimately improve outcomes in individuals suffering with the disease. Pulmonary hypertension is a debilitating condition of the lungs that affects the proper functioning of the heart that can lead to its failure.
James R. Klinger, the medical director of the center, stated in a press release: “Because of our accreditation status, health care professionals in the community will know that the depth and breadth of our resources are available to them and their patients.”
“Twenty years ago, no treatment was effective against this disease. Today, a quick and accurate diagnosis is critically important to ensure patients get access to treatment early,” added the center’s associate director, Corey E. Ventetuolo.
Murali Chakinala, who is a member of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association Oversight Committee explained: “Health care centers across the country are undergoing the rigorous review process to receive accreditation and demonstrate that they meet and exceed national standards of excellence. In addition to providing lifesaving care for patients, these specialty care centers, like the one at Rhode Island Hospital, are valuable resources for medical professionals and families of people living with pulmonary hypertension.”
In order to be designated a PHA-accredited Center of Comprehensive Care (CCC), each facility must not only demonstrate quality and depth of resources in treating PH, but also must offer several therapies: specific protocols and trained staff to manage the disease, intensive care facilities, an echocardiography lab, a cardiac catheterization lab, a pulmonary function lab, pharmacy with access to parenteral prostacyclin agents, a radiology department, participation at least in 3 patient-oriented PH investigations within the last 3 years, active management of PH patients and experts in cardiology, pulmonary and critical care medicine.
Through these accredited facilities, the PHA aims to establish best practices for managing pulmonary hypertension. Since the disease is difficult to detect, it can go undiagnosed for several years. Symptoms include fatigue and shortness of breath. It is well known that women are affected two times more than men, and there is a genetic predisposition for it. Individuals with CREST syndrome, scleroderma, HIV infection, liver cirrhosis or blood clot history have increased risk for the disease.