Seattle Children's Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic

Seattle Children's has a special clinic to care just for children with high blood pressure in their lungs ( pulmonary hypertension ).

Most children are sent by a heart doctor (cardiologist) or lung doctor (pulmonologist). A doctor often finds the problem after doing an echocardiogram . Some patients come to us because they have an illness that may cause pulmonary hypertension. These illnesses include sickle cell disease, lupus and scleroderma. We also follow up on the health of babies who have pulmonary hypertension because they were born early (prematurely).

What services do you offer?

The Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic team evaluates and treats children with high blood pressure in their lungs. We offer the most comprehensive care for treating pulmonary hypertension. These services are based on your child's unique needs and may include oxygen therapy, medicine or surgery .

The clinic team starts by doing a full check of your child's heart and lungs (if your child hasn't already had a full check). The doctor will examine your child and may ask for some or all these tests:

  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram  
  • Lab tests to tell how your child's heart and other organs are working
  • Lung function tests to see how well your child can inhale and exhale
  • Imaging studies to see your child's lungs and heart, such as chest X-rays , CT (computed tomography) scan s, nuclear medicine lung scan s, or cardiac  MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans
  • A six-minute walk test to see how far your child can walk in six minutes and how they breathe after walking.
  • Exercise testing  
  • Cardiac catheterization  
  • Sleep studies to see if your child has a breathing problem during sleep, called obstructive sleep apnea, which can lead to high blood pressure in the lungs

Our goal is to find the cause of your child's problem and treat any related conditions. We also work to improve factors that might affect your child's health, such as low oxygen when they're sleeping.

What's special about the experience at Children's?

Seattle Children's has the only pulmonary hypertension clinic for children in the WAMI region - Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. Doctors around the Northwest refer children and families to us. At Children's you can expect complete care that is well planned and tailored to your child.

We work closely with special pharmacists to ensure you can get the medicines your child needs for pulmonary hypertension. These medicines often can't be found at local pharmacies or drugstores.

Children's is one of the few pediatric centers that take part in research studies of new medicines - or new versions meant for children (pediatric formulations) - like bosentan (Tracleer), tadalafil (Adcirca) and imatinib (Gleevec). This means your child may be able to get medicines here that aren't offered at other hospitals or clinics.

Pulmonary hypertension is a rare disease. So to learn more about it, we try to enroll our patients in disease registries. Disease registries are lists of patients with details about their health. By collecting details in one place, doctors can find out more about pulmonary hypertension and which treatments help.

Our close link with the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is important, too. PHA is a group that offers support and facts to patients and families, and works to find a cure.

Who's on the team?

Dr. Delphine Yung , a heart doctor (cardiologist) from our Heart Center will see your child in the Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic. Dr. Yung works closely with rest of our Heart Center team , such as cardiac anesthesiologists and cardiac surgeons. Care for pulmonary hypertension can be complex. Our clinic nurse coordinates the many services your child needs.

When your child gets older, they will need care from doctors who treat adults. To help your child make this move, we partner with doctors at UW Medicine. They have clinics for adults with pulmonary hypertension and related heart or lung problems.