Cor pulmonale is failure of the right side of the heart. It is brought on by long-term high blood pressure in the arteries of the lung and right ventricle of the heart.
Right-sided heart failure
High blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs is called pulmonary hypertension. The right side of the heart has a harder time pumping blood to the lungs when this happens. If this high pressure continues, it puts a strain on the right side of the heart, leading to cor pulmonale.
Any chronic lung condition that causes prolonged low blood oxygen levels can lead to cor pulmonale. A few of these causes include:
The goal of treatment is to control symptoms. It is important to treat medical problems that cause pulmonary hypertension, which can lead to cor pulmonale.
Many treatment options are available. If you are prescribed medicines, they may may be taken by mouth (oral), received through a vein (intravenous or IV), or breathed in (inhaled).Your doctor will decide which medicine is best for you. You will be closely monitored during treatment to watch for side effects and to see how well the medicine works for you. Never stop taking your medicines without talking to your doctor.
Other treatments may include:
Blood thinners to reduce the risk of blood clots
Oxygen thearpy at home
A lung or heart-lung transplant, if medication does not work
Other important tips to follow:
Avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting
Avoid traveling to high altitudes
Get yearly flu vaccine, as well as other vaccines such as the pneumonia vaccine
How well you do depends on what caused the condition.
As the illness gets worse, you will need to make changes in your home and get help around the house.
Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.