pulmonary heart disease

Pulmonary heart disease causes, symptoms, treatment & complication


Pulmonary heart disease is the enlargement of the right ventricle of heart due to increase blood pressure and increase the resistance of the lung. It is also known as Cor Pulmonale. It can be acute or chronic.

Acute Pulmonary Heart Disease

Acute heart disease causes the dilation of the right side of the heart. Dilation is the stretching of the heart muscles of the ventricle due to high pulmonary pressure.

Chronic Pulmonary Heart Disease

whereas chronic pulmonary heart disease causes right ventricular hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is an adaptive response in state-of chronic illness. In chronic illness, in response to increased pulmonary pressure and increased pulmonary resistance, heart muscles have to work more forcefully. Therefore, muscles grow in thickens as well as in length to adapt to the increased pulmonary resistance.

Due to pulmonary hypertension, small arteries in your lungs called pulmonary arterioles, and capillaries become narrowed or blocked due to high resistance to blood flow. This narrowing of the vessels makes it harder for the blood to flow easily through the lungs, thus, raises the blood pressure within the articles of the lung.

Due to pulmonary artery narrowing, pressure builds inside the heart’s lower right chamber (right ventricle) due to an accumulation of blood. Thus, the right ventricular must have to work harder to pump this blood pool through the lungs and eventually causing your heart muscles to weaken.

Causes of Pulmonary Heart Disease

Multiple factors cause this cor pulmonale, the most common causes are

  • Primary pulmonary hypertension
  • COPD
  • Blood clots in lungs
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Respiratory distress syndrome
  • Kyphoscoliosis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Bronchopulmonary fibrosis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pulmonary artery stenosis
  • Pulmonary vein stenosis
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Long term exposure to high altitude
  • Mitral valve disease

Signs & Symptoms Related To Pulmonary Heart Disease

Some nonspecific symptoms begin to appear due to pulmonary heart disease depending on the acute and chronic state. As the disease is going to progress, the following symptoms are seen

  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Raised JVP
  • Fatigue
  • Cyanosis
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abnormal heart sounds
  • Third heart sound
  • Wheezing
  • Tachycardia
  • Intercostal recession
  • Ascites
  • Pulmonary effusion
  • Jaundice
  • Enlargement of liver
  • Enlargement of the heart

How We Can Diagnose The Cor Pulmonale?

  • Some Investigations are made to diagnose pulmonary heart disease. Following are done,
  • Right ventricular hypertrophy, peaked P wave, arrhythmias are seen on ECG.
    Chest x-ray
  • Prominent pulmonary vessels, right ventricular hypertrophy, right atrial dilation on chest Xray indicate pulmonary hypertension.
  • Thrombophilia Screen
  • This is done to detect chronic deep venous thrombosis due to a rise in C-reactive proteins etc.
  • Complete blood test
  • Cardiac enzymes, inflammatory mediators are seen on the blood test report.

Treatment Plan to Cure the Pulmonary Heart Disease

Treatment for heart disease includes:

  1. Diuretics to decrease the burden on the heart.
  2. Antibiotics to treat the infection.
  3. Expectorants to improve the oxygen tension.
  4. Digitalis to prevent the risk of congestive heart failure.
  5. Vasodilators to ensure the blood flow to the heart.
  6. Oxygen therapy to resolve the shortness of breath as well as prevent hypoxemia.
  7. Anticoagulants to prevent the thrombosis and venous embolism.
  8. Transplantation of lungs is another best option when above all techniques are failed to improve.

Their dose, the duration is adjusted according to the condition of the patient and severity of the disease.


If a pulmonary heart disease is undiagnosed or left untreated or progressed to chronic disease, it can cause some life-threatening complications such as arrhythmias, bleeding disorders, blood clots, right ventricular hypertrophy, right-sided heart failure, deep venous thrombosis, etc.

HP Thoughts: We would like to introduce you this time to the heart of our discussion (no pun intended). Read our article to learn more — Heart Anatomy.

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