Wednesday, September 09, 2015 - Press Release: Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Center at UMC New Orleans Receives National Accreditation

NEW ORLEANS, LA – The Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Center (CPHC) at University Medical Center (UMC) New Orleans has won top-tier accreditation from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA), becoming the state’s first Center of Comprehensive Care for the rare and complex condition that affects the arteries in the lungs and heart.

The designation from the PHA, the world’s largest and oldest pulmonary hypertension association, signifies that a PH program has demonstrated a dedication to making proper diagnosis and the capacity to appropriately and comprehensively manage PH patients through a set of criteria established by the PHA Scientific Leadership Council – 28 global leaders in the field of pulmonary hypertension.

These criteria have also been developed with input from many PH stakeholders including physicians, allied health care professionals, patients and PHA leadership and are considered essential to delivering high-quality care for these complex patients.

Only a select and limited number of PH Centers will be accredited nationwide. The accreditation cycle is three years.

Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) is a relatively rare, life-threatening condition that causes high pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs. It is different from regular high blood pressure and requires advanced methods for diagnosis and novel treatments usually offered only in specialized centers.

“We are honored that the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) has given its highest accreditation to the Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Center (CPHC) at UMCNO,” said Dr. Bennett deBoisblanc, Professor of Medicine and Physiology at LSU Health Sciences Center and CPHC Co-Director. “This partnership of physicians, nurses, researchers, respiratory therapists, and social workers from LSU, Tulane, and UMCNO offers hope where there was none to patients from the entire Gulf South region.”

Dr. Shigeki Saito, CPHC Co-Director and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tulane University, said, “There is an urgent need for medical institutions to accurately diagnose, treat and provide support for PH patients. Our hope is that the PHA accreditation raises our profile to help us as we work with healthcare professionals throughout our community to ensure that more people living with PH receive the right diagnosis early and accurately and that they will get the very best care available.”

Gregory C. Feirn, acting CEO of UMC New Orleans and CEO of LCMC Health, said, “I am excited about the PHA accreditation of the Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Center and the partnership it represents.  With our academic partners at LSU Health Science Center and Tulane University School of Medicine, we are working to develop world class programs and services like this to improve the lives of many more patients.”

With symptoms that include breathlessness, fatigue, dizziness and chest pain, many pulmonary hypertension patients will see three or more physicians before they receive an accurate diagnosis. The survival rate for PH patients who go untreated is less than three years.

The CPHC’s team comprises physicians who were established and recognized PH clinicians prior to the creation of the Center. Dr. Lesley Ann Saketkoo, a Tulane rheumatologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Immunology, is co-director of research at the CPHC. Dr. Matthew Lammi, a pulmonologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at LSU Health Science Center, is co-director of research. Dr. Vijayendra Jaligam is a cardiologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at LSU Health Science Center.

The CPHC at UMC New Orleans offers PH care, nursing support, access to PH research studies and patient support groups, and inpatient care should patients need to be admitted. Patients receive care from a team of three LSU and Tulane pulmonologists, a cardiologist, a rheumatologist, social workers, respiratory services. The CPHC provides dedicated multi-specialty care for patients with scleroderma and other connective tissue diseases at risk for developing PH.

Faculty and staff also provide education and community outreach efforts such as a PH patient support group and patient education programs focusing on nutrition and healthy lifestyles, supporting the PHA foundation in efforts to increase awareness of PH.

The academic faculty of multi-specialty LSU and Tulane physicians will ensure that the CPHC becomes a training site for physicians, staff, fellows and others.

The advantages and benefits of the Center include:

  • An integrated clinic model that will provide ongoing co-management services with other outpatient clinics.  
  • A streamlined admissions process to increase response time and improve care with available on-site inpatient services.
  • An academic faculty of multi-specialty physicians from LSU and Tulane will ensure that CPHC becomes a training site for physicians, staff, fellows and others.
  • Patient education programs focusing on nutrition and healthy lifestyles and community outreach to increase awareness of PH.
  • Research initiatives to advance the study and treatment of PH.


About University Medical Center New Orleans


University Medical Center New Orleans is the academic medical center of LCMC Health, a Louisiana-based, not-for-profit health system.  UMC New Orleans encompasses a 2.3 million square foot campus anchoring the developing biomedical district. With a capacity for 446 beds, including 60 behavioral health beds, UMC New Orleans offers comprehensive primary care and specialty care, cutting edge research and the region’s only Level 1 Trauma Center. As the state’s largest teaching hospital and training facility for many of the state’s physicians, nurses and allied health professionals, UMC New Orleans plays an integral role in shaping the future of healthcare for the region. It serves as a key partner of LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, Tulane University School of Medicine and other academic institutions. UMC New Orleans was conceptualized, built and funded by the state of Louisiana. It is leased and managed by LCMC Health, which also manages Children’s Hospital, Touro and New Orleans East Hospital. For more information, go to

About the Pulmonary Hypertension Association

Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., with a growing list of chapters across the country, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the country’s leading pulmonary hypertension organization. Its mission is to find ways to prevent and cure pulmonary hypertension and provide hope for the community through support, education, research, advocacy and awareness. PHA does this by connecting and working together with the entire PH community of patients, families and medical professionals. Among its programs, PHA facilitates more than 245 support groups around the country and delivers continuing education for medical professionals through PHA Online University. For more information or to support PHA with a donation, go to



Our Partners


The Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans has teaching, research, and health care functions state-wide, through its six professional schools and twelve Centers of Excellence, as well as the more than one hundred hospitals and other health science related institutions with which they maintain affiliations.


The second-oldest medical school in the Deep South and the 15th oldest medical school in the United States, Tulane School of Medicine is equipping the next generation of medical professionals with the tools to succeed in a rapidly changing world and shape the future of health care.