Treatment guide

Pulmonary Thromboendarterectomy

Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) is a surgical procedure performed for individuals with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTPH).

The content has been reviewed for quality and accuracy to the best of our knowledge by Qunomedical and its Medical Board of Experts.

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  • Patients diagnosed with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTPH).

  • It is not recommended for patients that have a comorbid disease unrelated to CTPH, or for patients with severe pulmonary fibrosis.


  • Patients are required to stay in the hospital for about 2 weeks after PTE.

  • 3 months are required to make a full recovery.


8 to 10 hours


Most research reports an increase in survival rate.


  • Bleeding

  • Infections

  • Pain

  • Pericardial effusion

How Does a Pulmonary Thromboendarterectomy Work?

Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) is used as a treatment for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTPH). CTPH is a disease that is caused by the occurrence of several, recurrent pulmonary embolisms (an embolism is caused when a blood clot or a thrombus travels down and blocks a blood vessel).

PTE is an extensive and lengthy surgery, and involves the following steps:

  • You will be placed under general anaesthesia.

  • The surgeon will proceed to cut open your sternum to access your heart and lungs. Following this, you will be put on a heart-lung machine, and your body will be cooled down to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This is done to protect your organs.

  • During vital moments such as before the clots have to be removed, the machine will be turned off. This shuts off circulation and provides a bloodless surgical field for the surgeon to remove the clots.

  • This ‘on-off’ process will be repeated until all the clots have been safely removed.

  • Then, your body will be slowly warmed and brought back to the normal temperature. You will then be taken off the heart-lung machine.

  • Your chest will be closed, but the surgeons will leave behind the drain (to drain out excess fluid from your pleural cavity).

What Should I Expect From This Procedure?

Immediately after your surgery, you will be placed in the intensive care unit. Your vitals will be monitored closely for a few days, until you are seen fit to move into a normal cardiology ward. You will stay there under close supervision for another few days, until you are deemed fit to go home. This takes anywhere between 10 days to 3 weeks. You will also be prescribed medication which you will most probably have to take throughout your life.

Once you are home, you will have to come in regularly for tests and check-ups to monitor your recovery and to make sure your heart is functioning optimally. A full recovery takes approximately 3 months, but this varies for each patient. Your medical history, current health status and lifestyle play a huge role.

Lastly, there is a slight possibility of the clots recurring after the surgery. In case this happens, there are other treatment options and your doctor will discuss them with you.

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