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Pulmonary hypertension clinic opens at ECU

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Jan. 26, 2009)   —   East Carolina University has opened a new clinic for people with pulmonary arterial hypertension, a disease that limits a person's physical activity and can lead to death.

The clinic is led by Dr. Zia ur Rehman, a clinical assistant professor in the pulmonary and critical care division at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU and staffed by him, Dr. Pete Pancoast and Dr. Sunil Sharma. Dr Walter Tan, an ECU cardiologist and associate professor of cardiovascular sciences, collaborates with the clinic.

The clinic sees patients Mondays and Tuesdays at Moye Medical Center at 521 Moye Blvd.

Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the small and medium-sized blood vessels in the lungs caused by a stiffness of the arteries. These arteries carry blood from the heart to the lungs to pick up oxygen. Pulmonary hypertension causes symptoms such as shortness of breath during routine activity such as climbing two flights of stairs, tiredness, chest pain and a racing heartbeat.

As the disease worsens, its symptoms might limit all physical activity, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The strain pulmonary hypertension puts on the heart can lead to congestive heart failure, the most common cause of death in people who have pulmonary hypertension. In 2002, more than 15,600 people died from it, and 260,000 people were hospitalized for treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Though pulmonary hypertension has no cure, doctors have made advances in the last decade in understanding the disease process and its treatment. In addition, newer therapies have greatly added to the quality of life and improved survival of patients with pulmonary hypertension. Early identification and treatment are key to controlling the disease.

For more information, call 252-744-4653 or 252-744-1600 to make an appointment.


Contact: Doug Boyd | 252-744-2482