What is the role of diuretics in the treatment of cor pulmonale?

Updated: Dec 15, 2017
  • Author: Derek Leong, MD; Chief Editor: Henry H Ooi, MD, MRCPI  more...
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Diuretics are used in the management of chronic cor pulmonale, particularly when the RV filling volume is markedly elevated and in the management of associated peripheral edema. These agents may result in improvement of the function of both the right and left ventricles; however, diuretics may produce hemodynamic adverse effects if they are not used cautiously. Excessive volume depletion can lead to a decline in cardiac output.

Another potential complication of diuresis is the production of a hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis, which diminishes the effectiveness of carbon dioxide stimulation on the respiratory centers and lessens ventilatory drive. The adverse electrolyte and acid-base effect of diuretic use can also lead to cardiac arrhythmia, which can diminish cardiac output. Therefore, diuresis, while recommended in the management of chronic cor pulmonale, needs to be used with great caution.

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