By delivering comprehensive, expert care to patients with a life-threatening disease, the University of Miami Health System and Jackson Memorial Hospital now offer the first accredited Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center program in South Florida.

“This is a major accomplishment for the Miller School of Medicine’s Divisions of Pulmonary, Cardiology and Critical Care,” said David J. De La Zerda, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, fellowship program director, and director of pulmonary/critical care. “It reflects our team’s ability to diagnose and treat this rare lung condition, including medical therapies, clinical trials and transplant procedures.”

In June, the national Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) awarded accreditation to the Pulmonary Hypertension Program, which provides clinical services at UHealth Tower, the Diabetes Research Institute, The Lennar Foundation Medical Center, The Miami Transplant Institute, Jackson Ambulatory Care Center, and Jackson Multispecialty Center. It is the fourth center in Florida, and the first in the region, to be recognized by the PHA-Accredited PH Care Centers (PHCC) initiative for offering special expertise and raising the overall quality of care and outcomes in patients.

Pulmonary hypertension is a rare lung disease in which the pulmonary arteries become narrowed, making it difficult for blood to flow from the right side of the heart into the lungs. It is different from hypertension – which affects the arteries on the left side of the heart – and can affect anyone, regardless of age or ethnic background. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, swollen ankles, chest pain and an irregular heartbeat.

“Our program is the largest in South Florida, serving more than 300 active patients,” said Dr. De La Zerda. “We take a comprehensive approach to delivering personalized care, including pulmonary and cardiology specialists, physical therapists and other clinicians. We have many ongoing studies and clinical trials underway, and offer support groups to patients, caregivers and families.”

Properly diagnosing the disease, as well as classifying the exact type of pulmonary hypertension, is critical for the best treatment options, added Dr. De La Zerda. “Our physicians and staff are skilled in determining which medical therapies will work best for which patients, and to adjust them as needed,” he added. “We provide a single resource for the care and treatment of patients who live with this challenging disease.” 

For more information, call the Pulmonary Hypertension Program at 305-243-9383 to speak to a coordinator or visit

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29th July 2020 1:33 pm