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Surgical Management of Pulmonary Hypertension

Atrial septostomy surgery might be an option for some people who have right heart failure, despite trying other medical treatments, and are awaiting transplant or may not be a candidate for transplant.

Surgeons usually perform this procedure to increase the patient’s chance of survival until a transplant is available.

Atrial Septostomy Surgery: What to Expect

A surgeon puts a catheter with a balloon on the tip through the wall between the upper chambers (atria) of the heart to make a hole.

This allows blood to pass from the right side of the heart to the left side and bypass the lungs, which have high resistance due to pulmonary hypertension.

This procedure alleviates the pressure on the right ventricle of the heart.

After surgery, usually the oxygen levels in the blood fall, but the patient’s heart failure improves.

Atrial septostomy is only done under special circumstances, when doctors believe the benefits outweighs the risks. It only relieves symptoms and is not a permanent solution for a patient’s pulmonary hypertension.

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with the UPMC Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Program team, call toll-free at
1-877-PH4-UPMC, or email​​

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For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

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