BACKGROUND It has been generally accepted that chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) results from pulmonary embolism arising from deep vein thrombosis. An unresolved question regarding the etiology of CTEPH is why pulmonary thromboemboli are stable and resistant to effective anticoagulation. Recently non-resolving pulmonary thromboemboli in CTEPH have been shown to include myofibroblasts. This study investigates the cellular characteristics of myofibroblasts included in the organized thrombotic tissues of CTEPH. METHODS Organized thrombotic tissues of patients with CTEPH were obtained following pulmonary endarterectomy. We isolated cells from endarterectomized tissue from patients with CTEPH and identified them as endothelial-like cells and myofibroblast-like cells. RESULTS Myofibroblast-like cells were characterized as hyperproliferative, anchorage-independent, invasive and serum-independent. CONCLUSIONS Here we report the presence of active myofibroblast-like cells in endarterectomized tissue of CTEPH. We suggest that the formation of myofibroblasts with a high growth potential in the organized thrombotic tissues may be an important event in the pathobiology of this disease.