Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH) | MedStar Health

Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is characterized by high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries (the blood vessels in the lungs) that lasts 6 months or longer. It’s a rare type of pulmonary hypertension in which a blood clot in the lung, known as a pulmonary embolism, forms scar-like tissue and blocks blood flow.

This blood clot increases pressure in the pulmonary arteries and strains the right side of the heart, which becomes overworked and enlarged. If left untreated, CTEPH can lead to heart failure.

However, if caught early, it may be managed with medication or cured with a surgery called pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE). The specialists in our Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic will work with you to develop an effective treatment plan.


The symptoms are similar to those of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and heart failure.

Some symptoms you may experience include:

Shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or fainting with physical activity


A pulmonary embolism can trigger CTEPH. Up to 1 in 25 people who have had a pulmonary embolism—even those who were treated with blood thinners—develop CTEPH. Having multiple pulmonary embolisms can increase your risk.

Certain medical conditions can increase your risk as well, such as:


Angiogram (Angiography)

An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.

Chest X-ray

Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and chest wall.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.


An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.


Our heart and vascular teams work together and with other specialties to develop and implement individualized plans to treat a wide variety of conditions. This could include medication or more advanced treatments.

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Have general questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at If you have clinically-specific questions, please contact your physician’s office.