The voice of the patients – Interview with Leonardo Radicchi, president of AIPI: Associazione Ipertensione Polmonare Italiana

Mr Radicchi, would you please introduce yourself?

Good morning, I’m Leonardo Radicchi, president of the non-profit organization
AIPI: Associazione Ipertensione Polmonare Italiana (Italian Association of
Pulmonary Hypertension), an Association founded 20 years ago, and that for 20
years has been working to raise awareness of Pulmonary Hypertension among
doctors, patients and patient relatives.

How does the AIPI Association support PH patients?

Our interlocutors are the patients who are diagnosed with Hypertension. We try
to speak to this people, to let them know that even with Hypertension life goes
on, that they can live with Hypertension. Of course, there are some problems to
face and for this reason we make available to them different kinds of support: a
psychological support if they have issues to face, a legal support if they have
problems in their everyday life, and we also speak to their relatives, because
clearly also a patient relative has a set of important problems to deal with. So, we
try to speak to all these people, who are the components of this entity, and we try
to make their life easier when and where is possible.

From your point of view, what was the most important aspect of the latest World Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension?

This year, the quinquennial Symposium had an extremely important aspect, for
the first time there was a task force dedicated to the patients. For us, this is
essential because it means that the patients start to have the attention they
deserve. The patient is a fundamental component of the therapy that the doctors
adopt and of the work they do. For us, the patient associations, analyzing the
patient needs and studying the methods of approach that the doctors can use
with the patients is an essential element.

How important is the presence of such a task force for the patients, and more in general, the interaction between doctors and patients?

It is important to renew these occasions where there are tables for discussion, in
which the doctors meet the patients. These are not the tables of a hospital, where
on one side there’s the doctor and on the other one there’s the patient, these are
round tables where the patients are free to express their problems when they
have their first encounter with a disease, in this specific case of Pulmonary
Hypertension, and at the same time the doctors will try to make their issues
known when they have to interact with a patient.

What is your opinion about the WSPHA? How important is the existence of this Association for the patients?

From the patient point of view, the most important thing is to have the
awareness of being in contact with experts in the fields, with someone who
knows the subject of Pulmonary Hypertension to perfection. So, I think that an
Association like the one we are speaking of today is essential for the patients,
because we can discuss with experts in the field that follow and help us in our
life as patients.

PH is not well known by most people. In which ways does AIPI try to raise awareness about this disease?

It is really important to speak about Pulmonary Hypertension to everyone
because everyone, even without knowing it, can come across Pulmonary
Hypertension in their lives. Our Association does this job daily, we have a
website where we publish patient stories, we have a quarterly journal in which
we include their stories. We try to encourage the patients that get in contact with
our Association to tell their stories, and then we work hard to spread these
stories as much as possible, because it is very important to know the path they
face, because no patient has the same story, no patient faces the same path and it
is important also for the patient relatives to know how to help these people
during their path.