A first for UK patients

Papworth Hospital Charity is helping to fund a less invasive treatment for patients with Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH), a condition which involves raised blood pressure within the pulmonary arteries in the lungs due to a build-up of fibrous material, causing narrowing in the arteries.

People with the condition find it very hard to breathe and carry out simple day-to-day activities like walking up the stairs or down the street. The condition can have devastating and life threatening effects if left untreated, causing damage to the heart.

Currently Papworth Hospital is the only centre within the UK to offer surgery for CTEPH, however only 60% of those diagnosed with the condition are suitable for surgery so Papworth specialists decided to adopt a less invasive procedure, which is already established in other countries, to treat inoperable patients.

Specialist pulmonary hypertension consultants Dr Joanna Pepke-Zaba and Dr John Cannon teamed up with Consultant Anaesthetist Dr Guillermo Martinez and Consultant Interventional cardiologist Dr Stephen Hoole to successfully perform the first UK balloon pulmonary angioplasty (BPA) in three patients.

Dr Pepke-Zaba said:

"The successful launching of BPA in the UK was achieved by a truly collaborative approach involving staff from a number of departments within the hospital as well as external support. Thank you to everyone who made this possible. We hope to continue performing this procedure on a monthly basis throughout the coming year with the support of Papworth Hospital Charity."

Donations for the BPA Appeal will be paid into the Charity's Balloon Pulmonary Angioplasty Fund (P8570) for the use of equipment and research in further BPA activity.