Cardiothoracic surgery in PH – An interview with David Jenkins, cardiothoracic surgeon at the Royal Papworth Hospital, Cambridge and member of the WSPHA Scientific Board.

Dr. Jenkins, please introduce yourself and tell us how you became interested in Pulmonary Hypertension.

My name is David Jenkins  and I’m a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge in the UK. My interest in Pulmonary Hypertension has arisen through doing major operations on patients with Pulmonary Hypertension, covering the whole field from heart surgery in group 2 patients, to transplantation for all patients. But my real interest in Pulmonary Hypertension developed when I started performing Pulmonary Endarterectomy for patients with Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension, and over the last 15 years I’ve seen real advances in outcome for these patients. It’s been a very exciting time.

What improvements can the WSPH Association bring to the field of Pulmonary Hypertension?

I think the new Association is a real opportunity for bringing together a much wider field of people, from basic scientists to physicians, and surgeons to advance the future of research and clinical practice in Pulmonary Hypertension. 

In the last 10 years, in which area of PH there were the most important improvements?

Well, for me personally, as a surgeon I’ve been mainly interested in group 4 patients with Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension. We now have three treatments available- surgery, balloon angioplasty and new drug treatments- and we’re really making major advances in that field. I hope there will be similar improvements in patient outcomes for the other groups in the next 10 years. 

Do you consider yourself fortunate to be a part of the PH world?

I suppose looking back I’ve been extremely fortunate, in that I started doing this technically difficult operation and got interested that way, but I’ve been extremely fortunate to join the Pulmonary Hypertension group led by Dr. Joanna Pepke-Zaba at Royal Papworth Hospital at an extremely exciting time in the development of treatments for Pulmonary Hypertension.