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.
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
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
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.
British Columbia Pulmonary Hypertension Society
Pulmonary Hypertensions Association of Canada
Living with Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary Hypertension Association (USA)
Files and Forms
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.