Failure to Diagnose CTEPH

Some Connecticut residents who have chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension may have not had it properly diagnosed, according to a study that appeared in the European Respiratory Review. Also known as CTEPH, it is rare and involves the pulmonary arteries becoming blocked by thromboembolic materials. The result can be pulmonary hypertension. The right side of the heart may fail.

There are a number of risk factors for CTEPH including cancer, lupus, cardiac shunt infections, thyroid replacement therapy, and splenectomy. Early symptoms of the condition are nonspecific, and not everyone who has it is at risk for a blood clot. These factors mean that the condition might be missed or diagnosed late.

The study looked at data from the United States, Japan and Europe. It found that Japan had a lower rate of CTEPH at 1.9 per 100,000 people while in Europe and the United States, there were 3- to 5 cases for every 100,000 people. As few as 7 percent and no more than 29 percent of CTEPH cases were diagnosed in 2013 in the United States, and based on this, the researchers concluded that the condition was underdiagnosed.

A misdiagnosis or failure to detect CTEPH or other conditions can have a significant effect on a person’s prognosis. A delayed or misdiagnosis can result in a person getting the wrong treatment or starting treatment at a time when the disease or condition is much more difficult to address. The patient may wonder whether they there is any recourse to file a medical malpractice suit. The court takes into account that the practice of medicine is not error-free, but it would examine whether the health care practitioner failed to exercise the required standard of care.

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