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Acute cor pulmonale

Jardin, François; Vieillard-Baron, Antoine

Current Opinion in Critical Care: February 2009 - Volume 15 - Issue 1 - p 67–70
doi: 10.1097/MCC.0b013e3283220ddd
Respiratory system: Edited by John Marini

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.

Medical Intensive Care Unit, University Hospital Ambroise Paré, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, Boulogne, France

Correspondence to François Jardin, MD, Professor and Director of the Unit, Hôpital Ambroise Paré, 9 avenue Charles de Gaulle, 92104 Boulogne Cedex, France Tel: +33 1 49095604; Fax: +33 1 49095892; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.