In addition, the Adult Pulmonary Hypertension Comprehensive Care Center at CUMC also received accreditation. This effort, initiated and managed by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) and its Scientific Leadership Council, seeks to improve the quality of care and, ultimately, the health outcomes of patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH), specifically pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).
About the Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Comprehensive Care Center
The Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Comprehensive Care Center at CUMC/NYP is one of the largest in the world. Established more than 20 years ago, it is committed to the treatment of both adults and children with pulmonary hypertension, a serious condition that can occur at any age and affects the smallest blood vessels in the lungs. The Center treats patients with idiopathic (primary) pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary hypertension associated with a variety of conditions, including congenital heart disease, genetic (familial) conditions, scleroderma, lupus clotting disorders, pulmonary hypertension in newborns, chronic lung disease, HIV, sickle cell disease, and toxins.
What is Pulmonary Hypertension?
In someone with PAH, the right side of the heart has to work hard to push an adequate amount of blood through narrowed, stiff arteries in the lungs. Eventually, the extra stress causes the heart to enlarge and become less flexible, compromising the heart's ability to move blood out of the heart, through the lungs, and into the rest of the body. If left untreated, patients with this rare and debilitating disease can ultimately die from right heart failure. Without diagnosis, the average length of survival is 2.8 years.
Despite medical advances, many patients will see three or more different physicians before they are properly diagnosed. Even with the availability and success of PH-targeted therapies, long-term health outcomes are not optimal as many patients are hospitalized due to PH complications, require transplantation if therapies do not work, or do not survive. As such, there is an urgent need for medical institutions to diagnose PH and provide patients with the necessary treatments and support.
Becoming a PHCC
The Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Comprehensive Care Center at CUMC/NYP remains on the forefront of research to advance the field. In fact, the Center has participated in most of the pivotal clinical trials to date for the development of new medical treatments for pulmonary hypertension, including the first drug approved for treatment of this condition in 1995.
“A PHCC designation will give PH patients security in knowing they are receiving quality care from experts in the field.” – Murali Chakinala, MD
Being a PHCC ensures that a patient’s health is managed by highly trained and specialized physicians and allied health professionals who have demonstrated a dedication to both the proper clinical management and the larger PH scientific community. It also signifies that the Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Comprehensive Care Center at CUMC/NYP has met the rigorous standards of PHCC criteria, including an application and day-long site visit assessing more than 50 components relating to the Center’s director, coordinator, program staff and support services, clinical facility, and clinical research within the PH program.
Accredited PH Care Centers will also be invited to contribute to a PH patient registry that will track diagnostic and treatment patterns at a national level, ultimately demonstrating quality improvement for the care of PH patients. Linking Centers through a national network will increase collaboration in the PH community, and help lead to an understanding of best practices in the treatment of PH, through clinical, quality improvement and investigative partnerships.
“A PHCC designation will give PH patients security in knowing they are receiving quality care from experts in the field,” says Murali Chakinala, MD, from the Washington University School of Medicine and member of the PHCC Oversight Committee.
For more information about PHCC and its accreditation criteria, visit PHCareCenters.org.