Pulmonary Hypertension

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Pulmonary Hypertension Week

Pulmonary Hypertension Week

Welcome Message

Welcome to Pulmonary Hypertension Week at the American Thoracic Society. It is fitting that it is in November as this is also Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month. The Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) Week at ATS contributes significantly to the goals of increasing awareness of PH to a wide-reaching audience and sharing our current knowledge and future perspectives of this disease.

The ATS has been instrumental in supporting ongoing research, through the Pulmonary Circulation Assembly and other Assemblies as well, by promoting advancements in our understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms of pulmonary vascular function, gas exchange and right heart dysfunction while encouraging new and innovative clinical trials, drug development, diagnostic and therapeutic interventions in pulmonary vascular disease. The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the largest patient-centered organization worldwide and promotes awareness and knowledge with abundant information, educational programs, support groups and resources for patients, families and medical practitioners regarding pulmonary hypertension. For many years PHA and ATS have partnered in awarding grants for innovative research.

Pulmonary hypertension is a chronic, progressive, and potentially life-shortening condition characterized by high blood pressure in the pulmonary circulation. Patients often experience tiredness, shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting, and swelling of the legs and abdomen. PH condition often complicates many common diseases such as congestive heart failure, autoimmune diseases, sickle cell anemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary fibrosis or blood clots in the pulmonary circulation. The presence of pulmonary hypertension dramatically increases the risk of death in these conditions. PH can also occur sporadically, in families (hereditary) or related to certain toxins such as prescription diet pills.

Our improved understanding and recognition of pulmonary hypertension has uncovered the impressive burden of this disease on our healthcare system. The most recent estimates indicate that pulmonary hypertension is responsible for 260,000 hospital visits and over 15,000 deaths per year. We hope that Pulmonary Hypertension Week at the American Thoracic Society will help increase the public recognition of this devastating disease which will continue to advance ongoing research and drug development.


Karen Fagan, MD

Karen Fagan, MD
Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology
Chief, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
University of South Alabama
Member, ATS Board of Directors