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The BC Pulmonary Hypertension Program



Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a term for any condition that results in an elevation of the pressures in the vessels that carry blood through the lungs from the right side of the heart to the left side of the heart.

In pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) blood vessels in the lungs tighten and narrow causing an increase in pressure and making it more difficult for the heart to pump blood through the lungs. This can eventually lead to strain on the heart and difficulty circulating blood throughout the entire body. PAH can be a severe and progressive disease however many treatment options now exist that can dramatically alter the natural history of this disease.

The Pulmonary Hypertension program at the Vancouver General Hospital is a multi-disciplinary clinic specializing in the diagnosis and management of pulmonary vascular diseases. The PH program is composed of Respirologists, Cardiologists, Rheumatologists, as well as nurse practitioner/registered nurses and research coordinators. We are affiliated with both the Pacific Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic and the Systemic Sclerosis Clinic at St Paul’s Hospital. With both academic and research interests, the VGH PH clinic specializes in the assessment and treatment of patients with pulmonary hypertension as well as participating in clinical research and therapeutic trials. We welcome evaluation and management referrals from all regions of British Columbia and endeavor to provide care for patients throughout the province.

About the Pulmonary Hypertension Program


The Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic at the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) is a multidisciplinary program dedicated to the evaluation and care of patients with pulmonary hypertension. We provide diagnostic evaluation and consultation for those suspected of suffering from PH. We also provide ongoing care and management to those diagnosed with these diseases including initiation of therapy, monitoring for progression, and evaluating response to treatment. The pulmonary hypertension team provides both outpatient care in the PH clinic at The Lung Centre in the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre as well as inpatient care at VGH.

PH contact

The Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic at VGH is currently the primary referral centre for pulmonary hypertension in British Columbia. We evaluate and monitor patients with PH from across the province. We are also currently the only site in BC capable of initiating advanced therapy for PAH (intravenous and subcutaneous prostenoid therapies). The PH physicians and are also affiliated with the BC Lung Transplant Program and therefore assist patients with transitions to the Transplant Program when appropriate.

Pulmonary Hypertension Program Staff

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Dr. Ali Kapasi MD FRCPC


Dr. Kapasi completed his MD (Honours) at the University of Alberta in 2003. He subsequently completed a residency in Internal Medicine, and fellowships in Respirology and Lung Transplantation, before joining the academic staff at the University of Alberta in 2009. He received tenure in 2015, and completed a sabbatical with the Stanford University Pulmonary Hypertension program in Palo Alto, CA from 2018-2019.


Dr. Kapasi joined the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia in July 2021, and is currently an Associate Clinical Professor. He continues to maintain a busy clinical practice focused on advanced lung disease, pulmonary hypertension, and lung transplantation

Dr. John Swiston MD MPH FRCPC

Dr Swiston completed a BSc in Biochemistry in 1993 and an MSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1995, both at the University of Calgary. He received his MD in 2000 from the University of Alberta. His Internal Medicine residency and subsequent fellowship in Respirology were completed in 2005 at the University of British Columbia.


Through the UBC Clinical Investigator Program he went on to further clinical and research training in pulmonary hypertension at the University of Toronto in the Toronto General Hospital Pulmonary Hypertension Program as well as completing a Masters Degree in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.


Dr Swiston joined the Respiratory Division at the Vancouver General Hospital in 2007 and is currently an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. He is the Medical Director of the UBC Pulmonary Hypertension Program at VGH and a board member of the BC Pulmonary Hypertension Society. Dr Swiston’s clinical and research interests focus on pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary vascular diseases.

Dr. Robert Levy MD FRCPC

Robert D. Levy, MD, FRCPC trained in Respiratory Medicine at McGill University in Montreal. He was Director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratories at the Royal Victoria and Montreal Chest Hospitals and a Research Director at the Meakins-Christie Laboratories. He moved to Vancouver in 1997 where he is a Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. He served as Head of the Respiratory Division at St. Paul’s Hospital from 2002-2007. He is currently Associate Chair for Clinical Innovation in the Department of Medicine, and Physician Program Director for Ambulatory Care Transformation at St. Paul’s Hospital.

Dr. Levy is the Medical Director of the Lung Transplant Program and Section Head of Medicine at the British Columbia Transplant Society. He is co-director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Program at Vancouver General Hospital. Dr. Levy has published extensively in the fields of respiratory medicine, physiology, lung transplantation and pulmonary hypertension. His major research interests are related to physiologic and functional outcomes following lung transplantation, COPD and pulmonary hypertension.

Dr. Levy has served as an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Respiratory Medicine. He was co-chair of the Canadian Lung Transplant Study Group from 1997-2001. He has served as the Chair of the Pulmonary Vascular Committee of the Canadian Thoracic Society and is also past-President of that Society.

Dr Nathan Brunner MD FRCPC

Dr. Brunner obtained his degree in Medicine from the University of Alberta in 2006. He subsequently trained in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the University of British Columbia from 2006-2012. He received extra training in the field of pulmonary hypertension at Stanford University in California from 2012-2013.


He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of Cardiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia. His research interests include the clinical management of pulmonary hypertension and the assessment of pulmonary hypertension through hemodynamics and non-invasive imaging.

Lisa Lee, NP(F) Nurse Practitioner

Lisa obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2001 from the University Of Alberta in Edmonton. Lisa spent 13 years working as a registered nurse on inpatient units throughout Canada and the United States. Her training and certifications as an RN focused on neurology, neurosurgery, trauma and intensive care. She completed her Masters of Nursing in 2012 at the University of British Columbia.

Lisa joined the Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic as a nurse practitioner in 2012. Lisa is the manager of the prostacyclin program for the province of BC and Yukon Territory and is known internationally for her work on the safe administration of prostacyclins. She facilitates urgent referrals for pulmonary hypertension and treats pulmonary hypertension patients both in the ambulatory care and hospital setting. She developed and coordinates the genetic testing program for Familial PH, Idiopathic PAH and Pulmonary Veno-Occlusive Disease. Lisa was integral in establishing and continues to oversee an effective counselling program for patients struggling with pulmonary hypertension. She is a member of the Canadian Pulmonary Hypertension Registry Steering Committee and is responsible for overseeing the clinic database. She has been a member of the Canadian Pulmonary Hypertension Professional Network since its inception and has been a repeat member of the executive. She is a regular contributor to the efforts of PHA Canada, the national patient advocacy association.

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Referrals to the Pulmonary Hypertension Program

Why refer patients to the PH clinic?

PH is a relatively uncommon disease in the general population. The physicians and allied health professionals working in the PH clinic specialize in the diagnosis and management of this disease. The PH clinic allows for centralization of resources and expertise and the provision of multidisciplinary care for patients with PH. Centralized assessment and care of the PH population in BC also allows for epidemiologic tracking within the provincial health care system and standardization of care within the province. The PH clinic at VGH is the only site in BC with the multidisciniplary skills and resources necessary to initiate advanced therapies for PH. The PH clinic also provides access to investigation therapies through participation in clinical trial.

How to refer patients to the PH clinic:

The VGH pulmonary hypertension clinic welcomes referrals for the diagnostic workup and management of patients with known or suspected pulmonary hypertension. Referrals are accepted from all geographic locations in British Columbia. Physicians wishing to refer patients to the program can complete the PH clinic referral form and fax or mail to our office at the coordinates above along with relevant supporting documentation. We encourage all referring physicians to follow up referral by telephone to ensure that the necessary documents have been received and processed. Please contact the clinic directly by phone for urgent referrals or concerns.

Clinical Trials within the Pulmonary Hypertension Program


The PH clinic at VGH participates in numerous clinic trials in the field of pulmonary hypertension. Some trials explore new therapies for pulmonary hypertension and others investigate novel ways of using existing therapies. All trials that we participate in have been approved by the University of British Columbia Clinical Research Ethics Board. The PH clinic is currently enrolling or planning to enroll patients in a number of clinical trials. If you would like to be considered for participation in a clinical trial please contact our research coordinator.

PH Contact

Useful Links

British Columbia Pulmonary Hypertension Society

Pulmonary Hypertensions Association of Canada

Living with Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary Hypertension Association (USA)

Dietary advice

Files and Forms


Contact Us


Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic
7th floor, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver BC V5Z 1M9
Phone: 604 875 4323
Fax : 604 875 4210


We are located in the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre (GLDHCC) on the corner of Laurel Street and 12th Avenue. Patients attending the PH clinic should check in at the main reception desk of The Lung Center on the 7th floor of the GLDHCC.

Underground parking is available at the GLDHCC and can be accessed from Laurel Street between 10th and 12th Avenue. Parking is also available in the main parkade of the Vancouver General Hospital located half a block east of the GLDHCC on the south side of 12th Avenue. Street parking is also available in the vicinity of the GLDHCC and VGH but availability is limited.

Emergent Physician Medical Contact Related to the PH Program

Dr John Swiston or Dr Robert Levy can be reached through VGH locating at 604-875-5000. After hours please contact the VGH respirologist on call through VGH locating at 604-875-5000.

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