Fresno Pulmonary Hypertension Program

November 12, 2021

Pulmonary hypertension happens when the pressure in the blood vessels leading from the heart to the lungs is too high. It can occur due to the narrowing of the small blood vessels in the lungs. As a result, the right side of the heart that normally pumps the blood into the lungs has to squeeze harder against these narrow blood vessels. Over time, this can result in heart failure and death. It is a serious and complex condition and can affect people of all ages. Young women can be commonly affected.

The Fresno Pulmonary Hypertension Program was launched in 2008 and is the first and the only Pulmonary Hypertension Center in the Central Valley. The National Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) recognized our success, and we were accredited as a “PHCCC – Center of Comprehensive Clinical Care” – i.e., “Center of Excellence” in 2017. Before the launch of this program, patients from the Central valley needed to travel many miles to places such as San Francisco or Los Angeles to seek specialty care for this condition.

Sadly, it remains a hidden disease and can be challenging to diagnose. It can take up to two years or more to make a diagnosis. Improved awareness and prompt referral to an expert center may help expedite the diagnosis. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in improving outcomes. Most common symptoms include exercise-induced fatigue, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, ankle swelling.

The Fresno PH Program is fully comprehensive and consists of outpatient specialty care clinics, inpatient specialty care, clinical research, and support groups. As a recognized expert center, patients may also have the opportunity to participate in multi-center drug trials that may allow them to receive cutting-edge therapies.

Many Valley families have benefitted from this program over the years.

Here are some excerpts from our patients:

“The PH program in Fresno, Ca Dr. Bala and his staff gave me my life back! Pulmonary hypertension is a disease that will take away your passion for life and makes everyday a struggle for yourself and family! I was ready to give up until I finally got referred to Dr. Bala’s office and PH program on October 17th 2017. There are still tough days but thanks to Dr. Bala and his PH program those days have gotten a lot less and there isn’t enough appreciation or gratitude what they have done for me but I was blessed the day I got to his office!”

“I believe the help, close care from the local PAH program and the advocacy from Dr. Balasubramanian is the main reason my wife is alive today. My wife was a under the sole care of UCSF in San Francisco until we were able to see Dr. Bala in the ER at Regional Medical Center. Jessica was very sick and the treatment she was under at the time was no longer being very effective. Jess began direct care from Dr. Bala at the Fresno PAH program and treatment began. Ultimately after several years of treatment, the disease progressing and the need for transplant was becoming more apparent. Dr. Bala was able to help pass the vital information along to UCSF. In 2019 Jessica received a dual lung transplant which saved her life. We are eternally grateful the help from both UCSF and Fresno PAH program especially Dr. Bala. Without this local program I do not think my wife would still be here today.”

Vijay Balasubramanian, MD

Vijay Balasubramanian, MD

About the Author: Vijay Balasubramanian, MD, MPH, is board certified in Internal Medicine and specializes in pulmonary disease. Dr. Balasubramanian holds a faculty appointment with University of California, San Francisco in the UCSF Fresno Department of Internal Medicine and provides services at University Pulmonary Associates.

To learn more about Dr. Balasubramanian and University Pulmonary Associates, click here.