Acute and chronic pulmonary and cardiac diseases often have a high mortality rate, and can be a source of significant suffering. Palliative care, as described by the Institute of Medicine, "seeks to prevent, relieve, reduce or soothe the symptoms of disease or disorder without effecting a cure... Palliative care in this broad sense is not restricted to those who are dying or those enrolled in hospice programs." The American College of Chest Physicians strongly supports the position that such palliative and end-of-life care of the patient with an acute devastating or chronically progressive pulmonary or cardiac disease and his/her family should be an integral part of cardiopulmonary medicine. This care is best provided through an interdisciplinary effort by competent and experienced professionals under the leadership of a knowledgeable and compassionate physician. To that end, it is hoped that this statement will serve as a framework within which physicians may develop their own approach to the management of patients requiring palliative care.