WSPHA and therapeutic advances for the treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension- An interview with Prof. Marion Delcroix, Professor of Medicine and of Respiratory Physiology at the Universities of Leuven and Kortrijk and member of the WSPHA Scientific Board

Professor Delcroix, please introduce yourself.

My name is Marion Delcroix, I’m working as a pneumologist in Belgium in the University Hospital of Leuven and I’m in charge of the pulmonary vascular disease clinic at this hospital.

When did you have your first contact with Pulmonary Hypertension?

I was doing research on pulmonary embolism when I was contacted in 1993 or 1994 by a group of people doing a multicenter study on Pulmonary Hypertension and the relation with anorexigens. I  This study demonstrated that anorexigens were a causal factor for Pulmonary Hypertension, and I’ve been working on PH since then. At that time I was working in Brussels in Onze hospital and I moved to Leuven to be in charge of the pulmonary vascular disease clinics. When we had the opportunity to treat the first patients with prostacyclin in 1996 we started to make a difference for these patients. Prior to that time they could only managed with lung transplantation

What have been the most challenging patients you have had to deal with?

The most challenging patients are the children. We see families with genetic anomalies where all the children were sick. I provide care to a young family in which all the children have that condition. We also have adults, particularly older patients, but it is always with the kids that you are especially challenged.

How important is the contribution of the WSPH Association to the field of Pulmonary Hypertension?

Until now the Association of the World Symposia for Pulmonary Hypertension has been primarily active in summarizing the state of knowledge and transmitting it within the medical community. Now it seems that we are going to be more involved in exploring the field to see what the needs are, for example the types and designs of studies we should pursue, and to emphasize collaborative research.

In which fields do you expect the best improvements for the treatment of this disease in the future?

The most important field in the future will probably still be biology because in order to develop more efficacious therapies we need to have a greater understanding of the biology of this disease. Another focus is developing techniques to improve right ventricular function to better compensate for the increased pulmonary vascular afterload. I’m not sure that we will achieve advances from artificial intelligence or from devices for monitoring and treatment