St. Luke’s Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) Program provides specialized care for patients diagnosed with this serious condition in which their heart strains to pump blood to their lungs through narrowed or blocked arteries, causing arterial blood pressure to rise abnormally. Our expert team performs evidence-based evaluation and modern medical management, and offers education and supportive care, all of which make our program one of the most unique, respected and sought-after in the Northeastern United States.
Pulmonary hypertension is a progressive, life-changing disease in which the heart strains to pump blood to the lungs through narrowed or blocked arteries, causing arterial blood pressure to rise abnormally. Pulmonary Hypertension usually presents with common symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen ankles, lightheadedness and fainting. As a result, patients are often correctly diagnosed with it only after they have reached an advanced stage of the disease. If not treated early and accurately, over time, this condition can worsen and eventually cause the right side of the heart to work harder, become oversized and weakened and eventually to develop heart failure.
The sooner a comprehensive evaluation, effective treatment strategy, expert medical management and supportive care can take place, the better the long-term prognosis is for the patient.
Our Comprehensive and Coordinated Services
With advanced diagnostic and medical treatment capabilities, our experienced clinical team provides care for you that meets your individual and unique needs.
You'll experience thorough evaluation through our clinic, including:
- Assessment of the symptoms, underlying disease and cause of elevated pulmonary artery pressures. This is an important step in determining the best treatment for you.
- Coordination with you and your referring physician to gather a thorough medical history including a review of prior testing.
- Collaboration with other cardiology and pulmonary (heart and lung) specialists to complete diagnostic testing ranging from blood work, EKG, pulmonary function testing, and echocardiography as well as more advanced tests such as invasive hemodynamic evaluation, CT scan, nuclear imaging, right-heart catheterization and MRI.
- Ongoing medical management and supportive care.
We use a multi-disciplinary approach for your care and medical management, including:
- Detailed review and discussion with you and your referring doctor about all your diagnostic testing and options for medical therapy.
- Thorough review of your current medications with a careful review of response to therapy.
- Discussion of available research and clinical trials to ensure well-informed patient decisions and effective treatment options.
- Effective, ongoing management of a complex range of medicines and delivery methods.
- Support if you require medication authorization or financial assistance.
- Specialized nurse care managers who can provide you support by phone.
- Referral to the Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at one of St. Luke’s convenient locations.
What you can do to take care of yourself
Although a cure for pulmonary hypertension is rare, by working with your caregivers at the Pulmonary Hypertension Program and following the steps below, you can minimize the symptoms and side effects of PH and slow its progression.
- Keep your scheduled appointments with your care provider.
- Take your medicines as prescribed by your doctor. (Side effects of the medication are expected and can be managed.)
- Keep your appointments for blood tests, scans and other outpatient evaluations scheduled by your caregivers. If you must cancel one, be sure to reschedule it as soon as possible.
- Keep a daily log of your activities, symptoms, questions and concerns to share with your provider at your appointments.
- Perform self-care activities recommended by your provider/doctor.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet.
- Get physical exercise daily.
- Alert your PH team if you experience any of the following symptoms associated with PH: trouble breathing, chest pain, swollen ankles, lightheadedness, fainting. Call 911 or go to the ER if they should worsen.
- Seek emotional support from family, friends, a mental health professional or support group that addresses pulmonary hypertension.
By working with your PH team, following these guidelines and making your health and wellbeing a priority, you can control the progression of this disease.
Pulmonary Hypertension Program Office
1469 Eighth Avenue
Bethlehem PA 18018