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What is CTEPH?

When people talk about blood pressure, they are normally referring to the blood pressure you measure with a cuff. This is called systemic blood pressure – the pressure in your body’s arteries (blood vessels) as your heart pumps blood to the rest of your body. If your systemic blood pressure is high, you have systemic hypertension.1


The blood vessels in your lungs, called pulmonary arteries, have their own pressures. In some cases, this pressure can be high, causing pulmonary hypertension (PH). PH makes the right side of your heart work harder. Over time, the right side of your heart becomes enlarged, making it harder to pump blood.1,2


CTEPH, or chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, is a rare form of PH. In CTEPH, a thrombus (clot-like mass) gets stuck to the lung’s blood vessel wall and blocks blood flow.2,3



One or more blood clots that have travelled from elsewhere in the body have become stuck to the wall of a pulmonary artery. The lining or artery wall has formed extra tissue around the clot. Over time, the clots have transformed into fibrous material that is attached to the artery wall, creating a blockage that restricts blood flow. This restriction increases the blood pressure inside the artery.4,5


Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PEA) surgery is a complex surgical procedure performed on eligible people with CTEPH, whose PH is caused by blood clots in the lungs. PEA surgery is used to remove blood clots and restore blood flow to the lungs. This surgery is performed only at selected, specialized centers.7

1. American Heart Association 2014. What is pulmonary hypertension? 2. Galiè N et al. Eur Heart J 2015:doi:10.1093/eurheart/ehp297. 3. Pengo V, Lensing A, et al. N Engl J Med. 2004;350:2257-2264. 4. Cleveland Clinic 2014. Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. 5. Galiè N et al. Eur Heart J 2015:doi:10.1093/eurheart/ehv317. 6. Jenkins D et al. Eur Respir J 2012;21:32–9. 7. Pulmonary Hypertension Association. Understanding Pulmonary Hypertension. Brochure; copyright 2011.