What Is Cor Pulmonale?

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By amanda
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  • 1. Biswas, Abhishek. Preventing the development of acute cor pulmonale in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome: the first step. Annals of Translational Medicine vol. 4, 7 (2016). doi: 10.21037/atm.2016.03.18
  • 2. Howlett, Jonathan G. Cor Pulmonale. Merck Manuals Professional Edition (2020). https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular-disorders/heart-failure/cor-pulmonale
  • 3. Leong, Derek et al. Cor Pulmonale. MedScape (2019). https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/154062-overview
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Cor pulmonale is an enlargement of the heart’s right ventricle due to abnormally high blood pressure in the lungs. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the most common underlying condition, but other types of lung disease also contribute to the development of this structural change in cardiac muscle.3Leong, Derek et al. Cor Pulmonale. MedScape (2019). https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/154062-overview

Chronic cor pulmonale has subtle symptoms that can go unnoticed for years, especially in patients accustomed to living with decreased lung capacity3Leong, Derek et al. Cor Pulmonale. MedScape (2019). https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/154062-overview. The disease can also have a sudden onset that causes acute and potentially life-threatening complications. Here are 10 things to know about this serious heart condition.

1. Causes

Almost any lung problem that increases the pressure of blood entering the right side of the heart can potentially lead to chronic cor pulmonale. The right ventricle, not accustomed to the high pressure, responds to the strain by thickening and changing shape.3Leong, Derek et al. Cor Pulmonale. MedScape (2019). https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/154062-overview Environmental factors that restrict oxygen also can be responsible.2Howlett, Jonathan G. Cor Pulmonale. Merck Manuals Professional Edition (2020). https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular-disorders/heart-failure/cor-pulmonale

Acute cor pulmonale is a potentially life-threatening situation that can occur suddenly after a blood clot forms in the lung or in conjunction with acute respiratory distress syndrome.3Leong, Derek et al. Cor Pulmonale. MedScape (2019). https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/154062-overview An additional and potentially preventable cause among hospitalized patients is the application of excessive air pressure through a mechanical ventilator1Biswas, Abhishek. Preventing the development of acute cor pulmonale in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome: the first step. Annals of Translational Medicine vol. 4, 7 (2016). doi: 10.21037/atm.2016.03.18.

Cor Pulmonale

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