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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic in Florida has been named a Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. The designation is given to centers that provide early diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension, a full range of therapies and specialized care, outcomes follow-up and clinical research and studies, among other points of excellence.
Mayo Clinic in Florida is the only Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center in the Southeast and one of only 26 in the country.
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The designation is “very rewarding because the association was founded by patient advocates and their families, as well as by physicians and other medical providers who specialize in treating pulmonary hypertension,” says pulmonologist Charles Burger, M.D., who directs the Mayo Clinic Florida Pulmonary Hypertension Clinical Program.
“The association understands that diagnosis of this serious condition is often delayed, sometimes by years. They also recognize that even when pulmonary hypertension is finally recognized, that treatment varies due to lack of expertise. Therefore, the group is recognizing treatment centers that understand how to quickly diagnose and successfully treat the disorder when possible,” Dr. Burger says.
“Mayo Clinic shares the association’s impassioned mission to improve care and advance the science and research of pulmonary hypertension to move as close as possible to a cure,” he says.
Pulmonary hypertension, an increase of blood pressure in lung blood vessels, primarily affects middle-aged women, according to Dr. Burger. While common symptoms include difficulty breathing, swelling in the legs and dizziness, the disorder takes a number of different forms, he says.
Together, pulmonary hypertension disorders affect between 20,000 and 30,000 individuals in the United States.
Accreditation means a program demonstrates a dedication to making a proper diagnosis. It also means a program has the capacity to appropriately and comprehensively manage pulmonary hypertension patients through a set of criteria established by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association’s Scientific Leadership Council and the Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center Oversight Committee. The committee is comprised of members that are global leaders in the field of pulmonary hypertension.
The Mayo Clinic team treats about 500 pulmonary hypertension patients annually. It offers the full range of complex therapies — from use of drug agents to surgery to lung transplantation — to treat the various forms of the disease. It is also the only center in Florida to offer surgery for chronic pulmonary thromboembolic hypertension, an extensive procedure that removes clots along the lining of a pulmonary artery. Few centers specialize in such major surgery, Dr. Burger says.
“I am very pleased the program has been recognized by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association because it acknowledges the dedication that our health-care team brings to the care of our patients and our ability to refine the diagnostic evaluation and research advanced therapies,” Dr. Burger says.
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