Centers of Excellence

The Lung Center

Pulmonary Vascular Disease

Pulmonary vascular disease (PVD) is a broad term including any condition that affects the blood vessels within the lungs. These vessels take blood that is depleted of oxygen to the lungs from the right side of the heart. Deoxygenated blood travels through the pulmonary arteries where oxygen is taken up. The pulmonary veins leave the lungs and take blood rich with oxygen to the left side of the heart where oxygenated blood is distributed throughout the body. This process continually replenishes the blood with oxygen, and lets carbon dioxide be exhaled. A pulmonary vascular disorder can lead to cardiovascular problems as well as impairing the quality of the patient’s life.

The Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program—a collaborative venture between the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Lung Center and the Heart & Vascular Center—offers personalized care and coordinated management for all types of PVD, including pulmonary arterial hypertension, right heart failure, and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). Our pulmonologists and cardiologists work closely together. This expertise and collaboration helps patients manage symptoms and have an improved quality of life. The research on PVD which is conducted at the Brigham provides greater understanding of these diseases and is translated directly into exceptional patient care.

The only definitive treatment is lung transplantation.

What are the causes of pulmonary vascular disease?

The causes of pulmonary vascular disease vary according to which of the lungs’ blood vessels are affected.

How is pulmonary vascular disease diagnosed?

In addition to taking a full medical history, your physician will conduct a variety of tests to diagnose PVD, as well as determine the specific disorder.

These tests can include:

What is the treatment for pulmonary vascular disease?

In treating PVD, your physician aims to lessen the severity of symptoms, which will help improve your quality of life. This will also lessen the strain on your heart and decrease your risk for heart failure. You and your healthcare team will develop a personalized plan (based on your specific condition, age, and other factors) that may include a variety of medications and surgery.

What can I expect?

When you become a patient, our team of experts develops a personalized, multidisciplinary care plan based on your specific condition. Our Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program provides long-term care and support to help patients manage their disease. We emphasize patient education, give patients access to research opportunities and offer a support group for patients and families to share personal experiences.

Team-based care

The Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program—joint venture between the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Lung Center and the Heart & Vascular Center—offers highly specialized, multidisciplinary evaluation and care for patients with complex pulmonary vascular conditions. Our pulmonologists and cardiologists, work closely together and with cardiac and thoracic surgeons, and other cardiovascular specialists.

Where are you located, and how do I book an appointment?

Do you have additional resources on pulmonary vascular disease?

Read the article Pulmonary Vascular Disease Specialists Add Balloon Angioplasty as a Treatment Option for Patients Not Eligible for Surgery.

Read the article Improving Outcomes for Patients with Pulmonary Embolism and Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension.

Visit the Kessler Health Education Library in the Bretholtz Center for Patients and Families to access computers and knowledgeable staff.

Access a complete directory of patient and family services.

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