The July 2020 issue of the journal CHEST features two articles based on a study that shows that patients might fare better when treated at a Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center (PHCC).

The study examined outcomes of people with PH treated at a PHCC accredited by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association and a non-specialty care center.

Hongyang Pi, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) wrote “Outcomes of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Are Improved in a Specialty Care Center.”

Murali Chakinala, M.D., FCCP, and Harrison Farber, M.D., FCCP, wrote an editorial on the study’s impact. “Pi and colleagues should be commended for providing the best real-world evidence supporting center-based care in PAH,” they write.

The single-center, retrospective clinical study on patient outcomes evaluated 580 pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) patients from two groups: patients treated at the University of Pittsburgh PHCC and patients treated at a non-specialty care center. The data came from patients enrolled in the Pulmonary Hypertension Association Registry (PHAR).

PAH patients treated at the PHCC showed improved patient survival (less patient death) and fewer hospitalizations. Patients who were referred early to the PHCC were more frequently monitored for PH, the authors showed. The patients also were more frequently prescribed vasodilators, which is associated with improved outcomes. The study is the most comprehensive to date to show improved PAH outcomes resulting from center-based care.

Despite recent advancements in PAH-specific therapies, patient care and treatment continues to be challenging and complex. Morbidity and mortality rates are still high among PAH patients. Some of the hurdles for providing optimal care to PAH patients include monitoring disease progression, complex treatment regimens and side effects of drug-drug interactions.

PHA established the PHCC program in 2014 to promote center-based care and improve quality of care and outcomes for patients with PH. PHA has accredited 81 PHCCs to date.

PHAR is a U.S.-based patient registry of patients with PAH, pediatric PH due to developmental lung disease, and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). PHAR has enrolled nearly 1,300 patients from 54 PHA-accredited PHCCs.