Thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension is a serious complication of pulmonary embolism. Usually a pulmonary embolism can be successfully treated; the most common treatment is with anticoagulants that ensure that no new clots form after the clot breaks up. However, if the clot does not fully dissipate or a person suffers frequent recurrence of pulmonary embolism, the lungs can become damaged and undergo harmful changes that can result in pulmonary hypertension. Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension is one of the leading causes of pulmonary hypertension and right sided heart failure.
Often thought of as a rare complication, recent studies show that about 4 in every 100 patients with PE will suffer from chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension within a few years of a PE.