Acute cor pulmonale

Curr Opin Crit Care. 2009 Feb;15(1):67-70. doi: 10.1097/mcc.0b013e3283220ddd.


Purpose of review: Acute cor pulmonale is a form of acute right heart failure produced by a sudden increase in resistance to blood flow in the pulmonary circulation, which is now rapidly recognized by bedside echocardiography.

Recent findings: In the clinical setting, acute cor pulmonale is mainly observed as a complication of massive pulmonary embolism or acute respiratory distress syndrome. In acute respiratory distress syndrome, the worsening effect of mechanical ventilation has been recently emphasized.

Summary: As a general rule, the treatment consists in rapidly reducing resistance to blood flow in the pulmonary circulation, obtained by a specific strategy according to etiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Echocardiography
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome