Pulmonary endarterectomy: part I. Pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnostic evaluation of chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension

Semin Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2014 Dec;18(4):319-30. doi: 10.1177/1089253214536621. Epub 2014 Jun 22.


Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) results from recurrent or incomplete resolution of pulmonary embolism. CTEPH is much more common than generally appreciated. Although pulmonary embolism (PE) affects a large number of Americans, chronic pulmonary hypertension (PH) remains underdiagnosed. It is imperative that all patients with PH be screened for the presence of CTEPH since this form of PH is potentially curable with pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) surgery. The success of this procedure depends greatly on the collaboration of a multidisciplinary team approach that includes pulmonary medicine, cardiothoracic surgery, and cardiac anesthesiology. This review, based on the experience of more than 3000 pulmonary endarterectomy surgeries, is divided into 2 parts. Part I focuses on the clinical history and pathophysiology, diagnostic workup, and intraoperative echocardiography. Part II focuses on the surgical approach, anesthetic management, postoperative care, and complications.

Keywords: chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension; diagnostic evaluation of CTEPH; pulmonary artery pressure; pulmonary thromboendarterectomy; right heart failure; transesophageal echocardiography in PTE.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Endarterectomy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / surgery
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / methods
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Embolism / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / surgery