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      Pulmonary hypertension and chronic cor pulmonale in COPD

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          Abstract

          Hypoxia and endothelial dysfunction play a central role in the development of pulmonary hypertension. Cor pulmonale is a maladaptive response to pulmonary hypertension. The presence of peripheral edema in cor pulmonale is almost invariably associated with hypercapnia. Correction of abnormalities of gas exchange and ventilation can ameliorate pulmonary hypertension and improve survival. This review focuses on new information about the pathogenesis and treatment of pulmonary hypertension in COPD including information derived from lung volume reduction surgery, the role of brain natriuretic peptide, exhaled nitric oxide for diagnosis, and the treatment of cor pulmonale with recently available specific pulmonary vasodilators.

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          Most cited references 78

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          Expression of endothelin-1 in the lungs of patients with pulmonary hypertension.

          Pulmonary hypertension is characterized by an increase in vascular tone or an abnormal proliferation of muscle cells in the walls of small pulmonary arteries. Endothelin-1 is a potent endothelium-derived vasoconstrictor peptide with important mitogenic properties. It has therefore been suggested that endothelin-1 may contribute to increases in pulmonary arterial tone or smooth-muscle proliferation in patients with pulmonary hypertension. We studied the sites and magnitude of endothelin-1 production in the lungs of patients with various causes of pulmonary hypertension. We studied the distribution of endothelin-1-like immunoreactivity (by immunocytochemical analysis) and endothelin-1 messenger RNA (by in situ hybridization) in lung specimens from 15 control subjects, 11 patients with plexogenic pulmonary arteriopathy (grades 4 through 6), and 17 patients with secondary pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary arteriopathy of grades 1 through 3. In the controls, endothelin-1-like immunoreactivity was rarely seen in vascular endothelial cells. In the patients with pulmonary hypertension, endothelin-1-like immunoreactivity was abundant, predominantly in endothelial cells of pulmonary arteries with medial thickening and intimal fibrosis. Likewise, endothelin-1 messenger RNA was increased in the patients with pulmonary hypertension and was expressed primarily at sites of endothelin-1-like immunoreactivity. There was a strong correlation between the intensity of endothelin-1-like immunoreactivity and pulmonary vascular resistance in the patients with plexogenic pulmonary arteriopathy, but not in those with secondary pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension is associated with the increased expression of endothelin-1 in vascular endothelial cells, suggesting that the local production of endothelin-1 may contribute to the vascular abnormalities associated with this disorder.
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            Continuous or nocturnal oxygen therapy in hypoxemic chronic obstructive lung disease: a clinical trial. Nocturnal Oxygen Therapy Trial Group.

            At six centers, 203 patients with hypoxemic chronic obstructive lung disease were randomly allocated to either continuous oxygen (O2) therapy or 12-hour nocturnal O2 therapy and followed for at least 12 months (mean, 19.3 months). The two groups were initially well matched in terms of physiological and neuropsychological function. Compliance with each oxygen regimen was good. Overall mortality in the nocturnal O2 therapy group was 1.94 times that in the continuous O2 therapy group (P = 0.01). This trend was striking in patients with carbon dioxide retention and also present in patients with relatively poor lung function, low mean nocturnal oxygen saturation, more severe brain dysfunction, and prominent mood disturbances. Continuous O2 therapy also appeared to benefit patients with low mean pulmonary artery pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance and those with relatively well-preserved exercise capacity. We conclude that in hypoxemic chronic obstructive lung disease, continuous O2 therapy is associated with a lower mortality than is nocturnal O2 therapy. The reason for this difference is not clear.
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              Echocardiographic assessment of pulmonary hypertension in patients with advanced lung disease.

              Doppler echocardiography is commonly used to estimate systolic pulmonary artery pressure and to diagnose pulmonary hypertension, but data relating to its utility in patients with advanced lung disease are limited. In a cohort study of 374 lung transplant candidates, the performance characteristics of echocardiography compared with right heart catheterization in the determination of systolic pulmonary artery pressure and diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension were investigated. The prevalence of pulmonary hypertension was 25% in the study population. Estimation of systolic pulmonary artery pressure by echocardiography was possible in 166 patients (44%). The correlation between systolic pulmonary artery pressure estimated by echocardiography and measured by cardiac catheterization was good (r = 0.69, p < 0.0001). However, 52% of pressure estimations were found to be inaccurate (more than 10 mm Hg difference compared with measured pressure), and 48% of patients were misclassified as having pulmonary hypertension by echocardiography. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of systolic pulmonary artery pressure estimation for diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension were 85%, 55%, 52%, and 87%, respectively. In conclusion, despite a statistically significant correlation with directly measured values, estimation of systolic pulmonary artery pressure by echocardiography is frequently inaccurate in patients with advanced lung disease and leads to considerable overdiagnosis of pulmonary hypertension.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-9106
                1178-2005
                September 2007
                September 2007
                : 2
                : 3
                : 273-282
                Affiliations
                Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Edward Eden Chief, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA, Tel +1 212 523 7341, Fax +1 212 523 8426, Email eeden@ 123456chpnet.org
                Article
                copd-2-273
                2695205
                18229565
                © 2007 Dove Medical Press Limited. All rights reserved
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