Pulmonable Cor . The left side of the heart produces a higher blood pressure in order to pump blood to the body; while the right side pumps blood through the lungs under much lower pressure.
[ hide ]
- 1 High pressure
- 2 Symptoms
- 3 Tests and exams
- 4 Treatment
- 5 Forecast
- 6 Possible complications
- 7 When to contact a medical professional
- 8 Prevention
- 9 Source
High pressure in the arteries of the lungs is called pulmonary hypertension. The right side of the heart has a harder time pumping blood at these higher pressures. If this high pressure is present for a longer time, it puts stress on the right side of the heart, leading to cor pulmonale.
Almost any chronic lung disease or condition that causes a prolonged decrease in blood oxygen can lead to cor pulmonale. Some of these causes include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Chronic blood clots in the lungs.
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Scarring of lung tissue (interstitial lung disease).
- Marked curvature of the upper part of the spine (kyphoscoliosis).
- Obstructive sleep apnea, in which there are pauses during breathing due to inflammation of the airways.
Shortness of breath or dizziness during activity is often the first symptom. You may have a fast heartbeat and feel like your heart is pounding. Over time, symptoms occur with milder activity or even while at rest. They can include:
- Fainting spells with activity.
- Chest discomfort, usually in the front.
- Chest pain
- Swelling of the feet or ankles
- Symptoms of underlying disorders (wheezing, cough).
Tests and exams
The doctor will perform a physical exam, which may reveal:
- Abnormal accumulation of fluid in the belly area (abdomen)
- Abnormal heart sounds
- Bluish discoloration of the skin (cyanosis)
- Swelling (distention) of the veins in the neck indicating increased pressures on the right side of the heart
- Swelling of the ankles
The following tests can help diagnose cor pulmonale:
- Antibody tests in the blood
- Blood test for brain natriuretic peptide (BNP)
- Chest x-ray
- CT scan of the chest
- Lung biopsy (rarely done)
- Measurement of blood oxygen by arterial blood gas
- Lung function tests
- Right heart catheterization
Ventilation and perfusion scan of the lungs (V / Q scan)
The goal of treatment is to control symptoms. It is important to treat the medical conditions that cause pulmonary hypertension, which can lead to cor pulmonale. Many new treatment options are available. Medications that may be prescribed include:
- Ambrisentan (Letairis)
- Bosentan (Tracleer)
- Calcium channel blockers
- Prostacyclin or similar drugs
The doctor will decide which medicine is best for you. You will be watched closely during treatment to watch for side effects and see how well the medicine works for you. Never stop taking your medications without talking to your doctor. Other treatments may include:
- Anticoagulants to reduce the risk of blood clots.
- Oxygen, in some cases.
- A lung or heart-lung transplant, if the medicine doesn’t work.
As the illness worsens, you will need to make changes to the home environment and get more help with household chores. Other important tips to follow:
- Avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting.
- Avoid traveling at high altitudes.
- Get your flu and pneumonia shots every year.
- Stop smoking.
- Talk to your doctor before you get pregnant.
How well you do depends on what caused the condition.
Cor pulmonale can lead to:
- Life-threatening shortness of breath.
- Severe fluid retention.
When to contact a medical professional
See your doctor if you experience shortness of breath or chest pain.
Avoiding behaviors that lead to chronic lung disease (especially cigarette smoking) can prevent the eventual development of cor pulmonale. Careful evaluation of heart murmurs in infancy can prevent cor pulmonale caused by certain heart defects.