COR PULMONALE(Pulmonary Hypertension)
COR PULMONALE (Pulmonary Hypertension)
DESCRIPTIONCor pulmonale is congestive heart failure resulting from raised blood pressure in the lungs. This is a complication of disorders that slow or block blood flow in the lungs. The lungs, heart, and blood vessels are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Surgery to correct problems caused by congenital or acquired disorders, such as replacing damaged heart valves (sometimes).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSNo symptoms (usually).
Weakness and fatigue.
Shortness of breath with exertion.
Swelling of the ankles and feet caused by fluid retention.
Distended neck veins.
Enlarged liver and swollen abdomen.
CAUSESSevere chronic obstructive lung disease, such as emphysema, recurrent pneumonia, bronchiectasis, silicosis, lung cancer, tuberculosis, or collagen diseases.
Blood clots that travel to the lung from another body site--usually a deep vein in the calf of the leg--and obstruct lung blood vessels.
Primary diseases of the heart, including rheumatic heart disease and congenital heart disease.
Prolonged bed rest for any illness which increases the chance of blood-clot formation; smoking.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Encourage your child not to smoke.
Obtain regular medical treatment for your child for any underlying disorder that can be corrected with surgery or medical treatment.
MEDICAL TESTSYour own observation of symptoms; medical history and physical exam by a doctor; laboratory studies of blood and lung function; X-rays of lungs; special studies that may include ultrasonography, CAT or CT scan, MRI, and radionuclide scan (See Glossary for all).
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSIrreversible congestive heart failure and death.
This condition is currently considered incurable. Many persons live 10 or 15 years after diagnosis, but disability will slowly increase. However, symptoms can be relieved or controlled. Scientific research into causes and treatment continues, so there is hope for increasingly effective treatment and cure.
Your child may need oxygen. Your doctor or an oxygen therapist can arrange for the type of oxygen that allows your child to be up and about.
Weigh the child daily and keep a record. Any sudden increase may indicate increased fluid retention.
MEDICATIONDiuretics to prevent fluid accumulation.
Digitalis to strengthen the force of heart-muscle contractions.
Antibiotics for recurrent infections.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
No restrictions. Your child can be as active as the condition allows, but overexertion should be avoided. Rest between activities is advised.
DIET & FLUIDS
Your child should eat a diet that is low in salt (See Appendix 29).
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes, except when ill with fever.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of cor pulmonale.
The following occurs during treatment:
-- Temperature of 101F (38.3C) or higher.
-- Weight gain of 3 to 4 pounds in 1 or 2 days.
-- Increased shortness of breath.
-- Increased swelling of ankles.
-- Cough with sputum that is discolored or tinged with blood.