We can help with chronic blood clots in your lungs (CTEPH)

Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute provides comprehensive care for patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), a long-term complication of pulmonary embolism (acute blood clot in the lungs). We can help!


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Have you or a family member been diagnosed with CTEPH?

CTEPH is a condition that may develop in patients who have had a pulmonary embolism (PE). About five percent of patients who have experienced PE develop chronic blood clots in the lungs, also known as CTEPH. These chronic blood clots can lead to complications including heart failure and pulmonary hypertension, however, CTEPH can be managed with proper diagnosis and treatment. 

At Northwestern Medicine, patients with CTEPH have access to our multidisciplinary CTEPH program, the largest program of its kind in Illinois. We are also one of the few programs in the nation to offer both of the leading treatment options for CTEPH: pulmonary thromboendarterectomy surgery (PTE) and balloon pulmonary angioplasty (BPA).

How is CTEPH treated?

Medical Management: Blood thinning medications help prevent new blood clots from forming in the lungs. Additional medications are available to help manage CTEPH symptoms. 

Balloon Pulmonary Angioplasty (BPA): BPA is a minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure. BPA moves blood clots out of the way to help restore normal blood flow to the lung. 

Meet the Team

USNWR Best Hospitals Cardiology 2021-22

Northwestern Memorial Hospital is ranked No. 8 in the U.S. for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report, 2022-2023. Our ranking is a reflection of the leading-edge services we offer and the results we achieve for our patients.

  • Highest ranked cardiology and heart surgery program in Illinois for 15 consecutive years
  • Highest available cardiology and heart surgery patient survival score since the metric was introduced

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CTEPH clinical trial options 
Researchers at Northwestern Medicine conduct clinical trials that provide access to innovative therapies for the treatment of CTEPH. Participating in a clinical trial is an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medications or study devices. The following clinical trials are investigational (experimental), which means they are not approved for commercial use by the U.S. FDA. 

Right Ventricular Ischemia and Fibrosis in Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH): This project is enrolling participants diagnosed with CTEPH who are scheduled for a PTE or BPA procedure for treatment. Eligible participants will undergo a cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) stress test (also known as stress CMR) before treatment and 6 months after treatment to look at changes in heart function and blood flow.

Narrowed blood vessels before pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) 

Enlarged blood vessels after pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) 

Daniel R. Schimmel, MD
Interventional Cardiology

Michael J. Cuttica, MD

Pulmonary Thromboendarterectomy Surgery (PTE): PTE is an open surgical procedure. PTE removes blood clots to help restore normal blood flow to the lung. This surgery is considered to be the gold standard for restoring blood flow to the lung. 

Poor blood flow to right upper lung before balloon pulmonary angioplasty (BPA) 

Improved blood flow to right upper lung after balloon pulmonary angioplasty (BPA) 

Ambalavanan Arunachalam, MD
S. Christopher Malaisrie, MD
Daniel R. Schimmel, MD
Karlyn A. Martin, MD
Ryan J. Avery, MD
Yasmin Raza, MD

Yasmin Raza, MD

Have a Nurse Contact Me

Fill out the form to have a nurse specializing in CTEPH contact you by phone or email.

Benjamin H. Freed, MD

Northwestern Medicine CTEPH Featured Publications

  1. Martin KA, Cuttica MJ. Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension: anticoagulation and beyond. Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2021 Dec 10;2021(1):478-484.
  2. Mylvaganam R, Avery R, Goldberg I, Makowski C, Kalhan R, Villaflor V, Cuttica MJ. Adverse effects of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies on right ventricular function and pulmonary arterial dilatation. Pulm Circ. 2021 Feb 9;11(1):2045894021992236. doi: 10.1177/2045894021992236. eCollection 2021 Jan-Mar.

*Bolding of author’s name indicates Northwestern Medicine and/or Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine faculty.

Ruben J. Mylvaganam, MD