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 program, that is among the largest and most advanced treatment and research programs 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).

USNWR Best Hospitals - Heart & Vascular, 2023-24

Northwestern Memorial Hospital is ranked as a top ten program in the nation (No. 7) for cardiology, heart & vascular surgery by U.S. News & World Report, 2023-2024. Our impressive U.S. News & World Report achievements are a reflection of the expert care provided and why patients choose to get their heart and vascular seconds opinions from Northwestern Medicine.

  • Highest ranked cardiology, heart & vascular surgery program in Illinois for 16 consecutive years
  • Highest available cardiology, heart & vascular surgery patient survival score since the metric was introduced
  • Rated “High Performing” (the highest rating possible) for abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, aortic valve surgery, heart attack, heart failure and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)

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.

PreVail-PH2: This early feasibility study is intended to characterize the impact of pulmonary artery denervation (PADN) on the exercise capacity and quality of life in Heart Failure Patients with Group 2 Pulmonary Hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension is frequently associated with left heart failure and is a strong independent predictor of clinical worsening and higher mortality. No therapeutic options are available to treat PH in this selected group of patients with heart failure. The investigational device, Gradient Denervation System, delivers ultrasound ablation to planned locations in the pulmonary artery to down-regulate the sympathetic nervous drive. A total of 30 participants will be enrolled and receive PADN treatment. Participants are followed for 3 years after treatment.

Narrowed blood vessels before pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) 

Enlarged blood vessels after pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) 

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. 

Northwestern Medicine is proud to have performed over 100 PTE procedures. We are proud to have achieved this milestone and offer this procedure to patients with CTEPH.

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

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

Have a Nurse Contact Me

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

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.

Meet the Team

Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is a nationally recognized destination for those who require highly specialized heart and vascular care.

Make an Appointment

Whether you are experiencing symptoms that you do not understand or have already been diagnosed with CTEPH and are looking for a second opinion, Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offers comprehensive expertise to you and your loved ones at multiple convenient locations.

Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
675 N. Saint Clair Street
Galter Pavilion, Suite 19-100
Chicago, IL 60611
312.NM.HEART (312.664.3278) (TTY:711)

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 Mike

Northwestern Medicine
Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute
at Palos Hospital

12251 South 80th Avenue, Suite 1520
Palos Heights, Illinois 60463
708.923.4200 (TTY:711)