JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW
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Acute cor pulmonale.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Acute cor pulmonale is a form of acute right heart failure produced by a sudden increase in resistance to blood flow in the pulmonary circulation, which is now rapidly recognized by bedside echocardiography.

RECENT FINDINGS: In the clinical setting, acute cor pulmonale is mainly observed as a complication of massive pulmonary embolism or acute respiratory distress syndrome. In acute respiratory distress syndrome, the worsening effect of mechanical ventilation has been recently emphasized.

SUMMARY: As a general rule, the treatment consists in rapidly reducing resistance to blood flow in the pulmonary circulation, obtained by a specific strategy according to etiology.

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