What is cor pulmonale?

Updated: Dec 15, 2017
  • Author: Derek Leong, MD; Chief Editor: Henry H Ooi, MD, MRCPI  more...
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Answer

Answer

Cor pulmonale is defined as an alteration in the structure and function of the right ventricle (RV) of the heart caused by a primary disorder of the respiratory system. Pulmonary hypertension is often the common link between lung dysfunction and the heart in cor pulmonale. Right-sided ventricular disease caused by a primary abnormality of the left side of the heart or congenital heart disease is not considered cor pulmonale, but cor pulmonale can develop secondary to a wide variety of cardiopulmonary disease processes. Although cor pulmonale commonly has a chronic and slowly progressive course, acute onset or worsening cor pulmonale with life-threatening complications can occur. [1]


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