The Pulmonary Hypertension Association recently accredited two new Centers of Comprehensive Care (CCC) as part of the Pulmonary Hypertension Care Centers (PHCC) initiative. Care centers are now open in 23 states, providing more options for people living with pulmonary hypertension (PH).
Pulmonary hypertension is an increase in blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, vein, or capillaries, together known as the lung vasculature, leading to shortness of breath, faintness, dizziness, leg swelling, among other symptoms. PH can also induce a marked decrease in exercise tolerance. The condition is often misdiagnosed and treated as a different lung disease, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Currently, there is no cure for PH.
Patients with PH often go months or years without knowing they have the disease. As a result, the average time of survival is just 2.8 years after diagnosis. The good news is that with early and correct diagnosis, PH treatments — medicines, oxygen, and sometimes lung transplant — can control symptoms and extend and improve patients’ quality of life.
The two recently accredited Centers of Comprehensive Care are the Vanderbilt Pulmonary Vascular Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to a press release.
The PHA’s Scientific Leadership Council (SLC), 28 global leaders in the field of pulmonary hypertension, have spearheaded the PHA-Accredited PH Care Centers initiative to establish a program for accreditation of centers with special expertise in the disease, particularly pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), to raise the overall quality of care and clinical outcomes in patients with this life-threatening disease.
The SLC and the PHCC Oversight Committee set the criteria for accreditation.
One of the accreditation requirements is to enroll PH patients into the Pulmonary Hypertension Association Registry. The registry is an organized system that collects data to evaluate certain outcomes for the PH patients, and is a useful tool for learning more about rare diseases.
Since the launch of the PHCC program, the PHA has accredited 34 Comprehensive Care programs– 30 centers for adults and four for pediatric patients.