Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension is one of the few forms of pulmonary hypertension that is surgically curable. It is likely underdiagnosed and must be considered in every patient presenting with pulmonary hypertension to avoid missing the opportunity to cure these patients. This article discusses the epidemiology, risk factors, natural history, diagnosis, and preoperative evaluation of patients with this disorder. Also covered are putative mechanisms for the conversion of acute emboli into fibrosed thrombembolic residua. Mechanical obstruction of the central pulmonary vasculature is rarely the sole cause of the pulmonary hypertension, and a discussion of the small vessel arteriopathy present in these patients is offered. Technical aspects of pulmonary endartectomy and the data supporting its role are discussed, as are the limited data on pulmonary arterial hypertension specific medical therapies for patients deemed noncandidates for the operation.
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