Physician Detail

Konstadina Darsaklis, MD

Cardiology Director of Pulmonary Vascular Disease, Hartford Hospital


Hartford Hospital


Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant < Accepting new patients for this specialty
Cardiovascular Medicine < Not accepting new patients for this specialty
Echocardiography < Accepting new patients for this specialty

Areas of Interest

Cardiac Biopsy, Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT), Cardiac Transplantation, Cardiomyopathy, Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation, Heart Failure, Heart Transplantation, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators (ICDs), Mechanical Circulatory Support, Myocarditis, Peripartum Cardiomyopathy, Pulmonary Hypertension, Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy, Structural Heart Disease, Valvulopathy, Ventricular Assist Device Therapy

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Dedicated to awareness surrounding Pulmonary Hypertension - a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart.

Joining us is Dr. Dina Darsaklis, Cardiology Director of Pulmonary Vascular Disease at Hartford Hospital…

Q. First, how does this happen…how do the arteries become thick and narrow?

A. Good question. Many medical conditions can cause pulmonary hypertension.

Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in your lungs and the right side of your heart. In one form of pulmonary hypertension, tiny arteries in your lungs, called pulmonary arterioles, and capillaries become narrowed, blocked or destroyed. This makes it harder for blood to flow through your lungs, and raises pressure within your lungs' arteries. As the pressure builds, your heart's lower right chamber must work harder to pump blood through your lungs, eventually causing your heart muscle to weaken and fail.

Overworked and enlarged, the right ventricle gradually becomes weaker and loses its ability to pump enough blood to the lungs. This could eventually lead to the development of right heart failure.

Q. What are the symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension and how is it diagnosed?

A. Pulmonary hypertension is a tricky disease in the sense that in the beginning of the disease process one of the only symptoms, if any is usually shortness of breath with everyday activities, such as climbing stairs. Fatigue, dizziness, and fainting spells also can be symptoms. Swelling in the ankles, abdomen or legs, bluish lips and skin, and chest pain may occur later in the disease process as strain on the heart increases.

Eventually, it may become difficult to carry out any activities as the disease worsens.

Q. What are some of the treatment options offered at Hartford Hospital to treat this condition?

A. Pulmonary Hypertension is a disease that essentially sits in the arteries between the heart and the lung. A comprehensive team approach to patients and thus like to tackle it from a combined front with a pulmonologist and myself a cardiologist. We offer the spectrum of therapies depending on the cause of pulmonary hypertension.

It depends on the type of hypertension that determines the treatment anything from combined oral therapy to infusion pumps. Hartford Hospital is also participating in an international research study involving patients that suffer from pulmonary hypertension with left heart disease or HIV.

Q. What is new on the horizon for treatment options…I hear there may be an implantable pump available next year?

A. Yes that’s right and we are all pretty excited about it!

External infusion pumps, as we have just mentioned, have been used to deliver prostacyclins for PAH, but managing the therapy places a significant burden on patients, interferes with their daily activities, and runs a high risk of infections.

This past year, the FDA an Implantable System for Remodulin, a type of prostacyclin drug, for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. The benefit is that in fact it’s completely implantable and takes the significant burden off of the patient –

Q. How does it work?

A. Surgeons insert the intravascular catheter through a vein and connect the catheter to the pump in a pump pocket placed beneath the abdominal skin. The surgeon then uses the handheld programmer device to program and review the pump's settings. Once the surgeon programs the pump, the medicine is injected through the pump tubing to the delivery site. The pump remains permanently implanted and the health care provider can refill the pump as needed.

Thank you, Dr. Darsaklis, for joining us. To learn more…call 1-855-HHC-HERE.



Medical School

  • McGill University MD


  • McGill University, Internal Medicine


  • Montreal Heart Institute, Universite de Montreal, Advanced Adult Echocardiography
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Pulmonary Hypertension and Research Scholar
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Advanced Heart Failure, VAD & Transplant
  • McGill University, Adult Cardiology

Insurance Accepted*

Aetna, Anthem, BCBS Medicare, Cigna Healthcare, Colonial Cooperative Care, Community Health Network of Connecticut, Inc., Connecticare, Connecticare Commercial, Connecticare Medicare, Corvel, Coventry, Essence Healthcare, Evercare, First Health Group Corp., Focus, Harvard Pilgrim, Health Connecticut, Health Direct, Health New England, Healthy Connecticut, HMC/ Northeast Healthcare, Medspan Commercial, Medspan Medicare, Multiplan, Northeast Health Direct, One Health Plan/ Great-West Healthcare, Oxford Health Plans, Prime Health Services, Private Health Care Systems, Inc., Senior Whole Health, United Healthcare, WellCare of Connecticut, Inc.

*This information is subject to change at any time. Please check with your insurance provider before scheduling your appointment or receiving services to confirm they are a participating member of the Hartford HealthCare network.

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