Pulmonary Hypertension Program

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of your heart.

The condition begins when tiny blood vessels in your lungs, called pulmonary arteries, and capillaries become narrowed, blocked or destroyed. These smaller arterial blood vessels may be abnormally thick, scarred, inflamed, constricted or have clots.

When this occurs, it inhibits blood flow through your lungs, and raises pressure within your lungs' arteries. This often leads to insufficient oxygen delivery and results in an excess load to the heart leading to “right sided heart failure.”

As the pressure builds, your heart's lower right chamber (right ventricle) must work harder to pump blood through your lungs, eventually causing your heart muscle to weaken and perhaps eventually fail.

Normally, the lung vasculature can easily adapt to exercise-induced marked increases in blood flow. However in pulmonary hypertension, the vascular resistance and the pressure in the lungs is further elevated with activity and leads to decreased flow to the left side of the heart (which pumps to the rest of the body).

Pulmonary hypertension should not be confused with hypertension — sometimes called systemic hypertension or high blood pressure. PH can occur in patients with or without this more common condition. The signs and symptoms of pulmonary hypertension in its early stages may not be noticeable for months or even years. As the disease progresses, however, symptoms worsen.

These include:

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea), initially while exercising and eventually while at rest
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or fainting spells (syncope)
  • Chest pressure or pain
  • Swelling (edema) in your ankles, legs and eventually in your abdomen (ascites)
  • Bluish color to your lips and skin (cyanosis)

Services and Treatment

Pulmonary hypertension is a serious illness that becomes worse with time and is sometimes fatal. Although pulmonary hypertension is not, for the most part, curable, The Montefiore Einstein Pulmonary Hypertension Program, a multidisciplinary effort between Cardiology and Pulmonary Divisions, offers a number of state-of the art, proven and extremely personalized treatment plans that help to lesson symptoms, improve your quality of life and ability to function with ease.

Easy, Comprehensive diagnostic testing:
The Montefiore Einstein Pulmonary Hypertension Program is able to offer all the needed and appropriate diagnostic testing for patients referred for pulmonary hypertension. These may include:

  • Special blood tests
  • ECG
  • Echocardiograms
  • Cardiac MRI or CTA
  • Cardiopulmonary stress testing (to distinguish cardiac vs. pulmonary shortness of breath)
  • Nuclear lung scan to assess for clots (V/Q scan)
  • Breathing test (PFTs)
  • Sleep studies
  • High resolution chest CT of the lungs
  • Cardiac catheterization with vasodilator testing as the definitive gold standard and the means of differentiating multifactorial disease.

Services Provided:

  • In-depth analysis, diagnosis and management for all forms of PH
  • Inpatient transfer and outpatient management of individuals with pulmonary hypertension.
  • Nutritional/dietary counseling, as well as telephone follow-up by a Nurse Practitioners trained in management of patients with PH.
  • Specialized cardiac catheterization to diagnose PH and gauge response to treatment (performed by catheterization colleagues).
  • We also provide services at CHAM for Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension.
  • Multi-center clinical trials, as well as ongoing other original research, that will give you access to the most cutting-edge treatments currently available.
  • Referral for end-of-life management and palliative care for patients with unresponsive symptoms and limited life expectancy.

Helping you live with Pulmonary Hypertension

We will work closely with you to manage your symptoms, slow the progress of the disease and do all that we can to ensure your ongoing health and comfort.

It’s vital that you follow your treatment plan as your doctor advises and let us know if your symptoms worsen or change in any way. The earlier that any symptoms are addressed, the easier it is to treat them.

We understand that living with PH may cause fear, anxiety, depression and stress. You may worry about your medical condition, treatment, finances and other issues. So please talk to us about how you feel. In addition, communicate with your loved ones about your state of mind and how they can help you.


Kate R. Steinberg

Kate R. Steinberg, MD

Division of Pulmonary Medicine

Nicole J. Sutton

Nicole J. Sutton, MD

Department of Pediatric Cardiology


We’re here to help. Please use the information below to reach out with any questions you may have or to make an appointment with one of our specialists.

Montefiore Einstein Center for Cardiology and Vascular Care
1250 Waters Place
Two Tower, 7th Floor
Bronx, NY 10461
Locate on Google Maps