PHA/ATS Research Fellowship in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Grant Winner 2016

Farbod Rahaghi, MD, PhDFarbod Rahaghi, MD, PhD

Instructor, Pulmonary and Critical Care
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Title: “CT Imaging Markers of Pulmonary Arterial and Venous Remodeling in Pulmonary Hypertension”
Term: December 1, 2016 – November 30, 2018


Summary of Research Project

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is heterogeneous disease characterized by elevated pulmonary arterial pressures which may lead to right ventricular failure and death. While treatments have been developed for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), these treatments have been difficult to apply to patients with other types of pulmonary hypertension including those due to left heart disease. Some patients with PH due left heart disease have evidence of changes to their pulmonary arteries that are similar to those with PAH but reliable measures of the degree of arterial disease are needed to identify these patients. Our group has developed methods of creating a 3D reconstruction of the visible vessels on CT scans, and we have found differences in the arterial and venous structure of patients with PH. In this proposal we seek to use these measures to detect the difference between patients with PAH and those with PH due to left heart disease, and to relate these measures to arterial and venous changes measured by catheterization. These methods have the potential to be used to screen patients with left-sided heart disease for further invasive work-up such as cardiac catheterization, sparing those patients who are unlikely to benefit from therapy from invasive procedures. It may enable us to identify potentially treatable subtypes of pulmonary hypertension due to left ventricular heart disease. It may also help us better understand the underlying process that leads to changes in the arteries with elevated left sided pressures. One advantage of this method is it relies on imaging that is often acquired in the process of a patient’s work-up for shortness of breath so no new tests would be necessary to get the additional information.


9/94 – 6/98 B.S. Physics
Minor in Psychology & Literature
University of California – San Diego, San Diego, CA
9/98 – 6/08 M.D. Medicine University of California – San Diego School of Medicine, San Diego, CA
9/01 – 12/4 M.S. Bioengineering University of California – San Diego
9/01 – 6/07 Ph.D. Bioengineering University of California – San Diego
6/08 – 6/09 Intern Internal Medicine Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC
6/09 – 6/11 Resident Internal Medicine Duke University Hospital
7/11 – 6/15 Fellow Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital
7/11- Fellow Medicine Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Research Support


5T32HL007633 Levy(PI)

Training grant to support the development of nine post-doctoral fellows in the pursuit of cell and molecular mechanisms of lung biology and pathology

Role: Trainee

5T32GM007198-24 Insel(PI)
Training grant to support pre-doctoral studies of medical scientists (Medical Scientist Training Program, MSTP) leading to a combined M.D. and Ph.D.

Role: Trainee

Year(s) Grant title


CHEST Foundation Research Grant in Venous Thromboembolism Rahaghi(PI)
CT based biomarkers for prediction of outcomes in acute pulmonary embolism
2016 ATS Foundation/Pulmonary Hypertension Association Research Fellowship Rahaghi(PI)       
ATS Foundation/Pulmonary Hypertension Association
CT Imaging Markers of Pulmonary Arterial and Venous Remodeling in Pulmonary Hypertension

Selected Publications

Rahaghi FN, Vegas-Sanchez-Ferrero G, Minhas JK, Come CE, De La Bruere I, Wells JM, González G, Bhatt SP, Fenster BE, Diaz AA, Kohli P, Ross JC, Lynch DA, Dransfield MT, Bowler RP, Ledesma-Carbayo MJ, San José Estépar R, Washko GR; COPDGene Investigators. Ventricular Geometry From Non-contrast Non-ECG-gated CT Scans: An Imaging Marker of Cardiopulmonary Disease in Smokers. Acad Radiol. 2017 Feb 15

Rahaghi FN, Wells JM, Come CE, De La Bruere IA, Bhatt SP, Ross JC, Vegas-Sánchez-Ferrero G, Diaz AA, Minhas J, Dransfield MT, San José Estépar R, Washko GR; and the COPDGene Investigators.

Arterial and Venous Pulmonary Vascular Morphology and Their Relationship to Findings in Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Smokers. J Comput Assist Tomogr. 2016 Nov/Dec;40(6):948-952.

Vegas-Sanchez-Ferrero G, Washko G, Rahaghi FN, Ledesma-Carbayo MJ, Estépar RS. Derivation of a Test Statistic For Emphysema Quantification.  Proc IEEE Int Symp Biomed Imaging. 2016 Apr;2016:1269-1273.

Rahaghi FN,  Ross JC, Agarwal M, Gonzalez G, Come CE, Diaz AA, Vegas-Sanchez-Ferrero GG, Hunsaker A, San Jose Estepar R, Waxman A, Washko GR.  Pulmonary Vascular Morphology as an Imaging Biomarker in Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension. Pulmonary Circulation, 2016 6(1):70-81.