Acute cor pulmonale in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome: A comprehensive review

Kay Choong See
World Journal of Critical Care Medicine 2021 March 9, 10 (2): 35-42
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)-related acute cor pulmonale (ACP) is found in 8%-50% of all patients with ARDS, and is associated with adverse hemodynamic and survival outcomes. ARDS-related ACP is an echocardiographic diagnosis marked by combined right ventricular dilatation and septal dyskinesia, which connote simultaneous diastolic (volume) and systolic (pressure) overload respectively. Risk factors include pneumonia, hypercapnia, hypoxemia, high airway pressures and concomitant pulmonary disease. Current evidence suggests that ARDS-related ACP is amenable to multimodal treatments including ventilator adjustment (aiming for arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide < 60 mmHg, plateau pressure < 27 cmH2 O, driving pressure < 17 cmH2 O), prone positioning, fluid balance optimization and pharmacotherapy. Further research is required to elucidate the optimal frequency and duration of routine bedside echocardiography screening for ARDS-related ACP, to more clearly delineate the diagnostic role of transthoracic echocardiography relative to transesophageal echocardiography, and to validate current and novel therapies.

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