Pulmonary Hypertension Program Helps Patients Breathe Easier, Live Healthier


Vol. 14, No. 4
Winter 2005

  • Winthrop Ranked Among Top 5% in Nation For Overall Clinical Excellence -- Two Years in a Row!

  • Winthrop Gets Highest Marks from Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

  • Cardiac Services Score High in NY State Department of Health Reports

  • Pulmonary Hypertension Program Helps Patients Breathe Easier, Live Healthier

  • Winthrop Neurosurgeon Performs "Bloodless" Spine Surgery

  • Horticultural Program Branches Off Child Life Program

  • Popular Teen Diabetes Group Focuses on Fun

  • Weight Control Program Fosters Family Involvement, Healthy Choices

  • Chronic Lung Disease Patients Breathe Easier Thanks to WEB

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Center Emphasizes Importance of Early Diagnosis & Treatment

  • Stroke Peer Visitor Program Keeps Smiles Going

  • Winthrop's Breast Imaging & Diagnostic Center: Accessible to Patients, Timely Reports for Physicians

  • GUARDIANS of the FUTURE

  • Yuletide Ball

  • Jets Women's Organization & Project Sunshine Spread Cheer in Winthrop's Pediatric Center

    Back to Publications

  • One patient, on brink of death, can now walk without fear of fainting

    We snatched Teresa from death. When someone starts fainting and blacking out like she did, it's serious."
    Dr. Terence Trow


    Dr. Terence Trow discusses Pulmonary Hypertension therapies with Mrs. Wynne.

    Vacuuming, dusting and polishing: These are just some of the tasks that were challenges for Teresa Wynne. After a few seconds of light activity, she was winded, and she knew something was wrong. "It would take me five minutes to climb 13 steps, and when I got to the top, I couldn't breathe and my legs hurt," she explained.

    Mrs. Wynne suffers from Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) -- high-blood pressure in the lungs. PH causes the small vessels that supply blood from the heart through the lungs to constrict, seriously hampering blood flow through the vessels. Consequently, the right side of the heart works harder and becomes less flexible. As blood flowing out of the heart is reduced, symptoms, such as fatigue and fainting, are increased. Mrs. Wynne ignored her symptoms. Then, two years after being diagnosed, her condition worsened, and she began to faint often. In need of specialized, comprehensive care, she turned to Winthrop's Pulmonary Hypertension Center, one of only a few specialty centers on Long Island that caters to the special needs of PH patients.

    Terence Trow, MD, Medical Director of the Center, evaluated Mrs. Wynne's condition and immediately admitted her to the Hospital. "We snatched her from death," he said. "When someone starts fainting and blacking out like she did, it's serious."

    According to Dr. Trow, PH is often overlooked or misdiagnosed. "The disease exhibits vague symptoms such as light-headedness and chest pains," he explained. "Because PH is life-threatening, we want to increase the index of concern in the community so that those like Mrs. Wynne are able to be treated quickly and enjoy a better quality of life."

    A chronic condition, PH strains and weakens the heart over time. To develop a specific strategy for individualized total quality care, the Center's team works closely with cardiologists in Winthrop's Institute for Heart Care.

      Analyzing Symptoms
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fatigue
    • Light-headedness
    • Fainting
    • Swollen ankles and legs
    • Chest discomfort
      Who's at Risk?
    • All ages
    • All ethnicities
    • Women 2x more than men
    • Women usually diagnosed during childbearing years
      Diagnosing PH
      Several tests are required to confirm a PH diagnosis and pinpoint a possible cause. Your doctor may call for any of the following:
    • A right-heart catheterization
    • An echocardiogram
    • An EKG
    • Pulmonary function tests
    • CT scans
    • Blood work
    • A sleep study
    • An exercise pulmonary stress test
    First, a symptomatic patient generally undergoes several diagnostic tests to confirm isolated PH. They include those needed to rule out a blood clot to the lung and a cardiac catheterization to make certain there are no blockages in the cardiac arteries. Once diagnosed with PH, there are several forms of treatment, including oral, nebulized and pump-infused medications.

    Thanks to Winthrop's diligent evaluation and treatment, Mrs. Wynne felt better within two days after Dr. Trow placed her on a pump-infused medication that significantly improved her breathing ability and day-to-day functioning.

    "I am thankful every day that I found Dr. Trow and that medication," she said. Her husband echoed her sentiments. "The Center's program really has turned things around for Teresa," he said.

    Mrs. Wynne visits the Center regularly for evaluation, including a six-minute walk to assess her exercise performance.And patients are encouraged to participate in a support group hosted at the Hospital by Mary Bartlett, NP, the Center's Nurse Practitioner. "Time and time again patients mention how personable and available the Center's dedicated staff is, and they really appreciate that we put a personal touch on their care," she explained. "It truly makes a difference."

    The Winthrop Pulmonary Hypertension Center has access to resources that help patients deal with PH and tailor their therapy. For more information, contact the Center at (516) 663-2834.



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