​Frequently asked questions

What is a right heart catheterization and why do I need it?

Right heart catheterization (RHC) is used to measure the pressures in your heart and blood vessels in the lungs, which may help your doctor understand whether you have CTEPH. During RHC, your doctor will insert a thin rubber tube called a catheter into a large vein in your neck or groin, before passing the catheter up to your heart. RHC takes place in a hospital under local anesthetic, but you can usually go home soon after the procedure. We have specialized cardiologists that perform RHC and therefore you will remain on your blood thinner for the test. We may order a left heart catheterization (LHC) in addition to the RHC if you are >/= 40 years old to check for coronary artery disease that can be removed at the time of your PTE. For a L and RHC, you will hold your blood thinner and may be referred to our Thrombosis clinic for instructions.

Flying and Staying in Toronto

Do not book return flights. Wait until 10 days before surgery to book unless you are okay with covering cancellation and/or getting cancellation on the flight. If flying through Hope Air, the patient has to call but we will provide a Hope Air link.

Do I require a mandatory support person to have surgery? Why?

We require you to have a mandatory support person if you are flying to Toronto for PTE due to strict sternal precautions required following surgery. You are unable to pull anything, lift over 5 lbs and lift anything over your head and therefore will be required to fly home with a support person to carry your luggage. We highly recommend a support person if you live in Ontario, even if you are not flying, for this reason. If you are unable to obtain a mandatory support person, we may refer you to an in-patient rehabilitation program following discharge from our hospital before returning home.

How often will I have follow-ups after my PTE surgery?

Follow-up will include:

  1. 2 weeks after discharge a chest x-ray and blood work to ensure your sternal wires are intact, lungs are clear and all blood work is back to normal if anything was mildly abnormal at discharge.
  2. 3 months after surgery with a new echocardiogram, 6-minute walk test and blood work.
  3. 6 months after surgery with new baseline investigations (VQ scan, CTPA, RHC, echocardiogram, 6-minute walk test and blood work with BNP). If you have evidence of remaining disease that could not be removed during surgery, are still symptomatic and have an abnormal echocardiogram and signs of continuous pulmonary hypertension on RHC, we may refer you to the Balloon Pulmonary Angioplasty (BPA link) for consideration.
  4. 1 year later with a new echocardiogram, 6-minute walk test and blood work.
  5. Annually thereafter with a new echocardiogram, 6-minute walk test and blood work. If OOP, your referring pulmonary hypertension will continue to be monitored. You will come back to our clinic unless you have a pulmonary hypertension doctor.

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