Cardiovascular failure

Cardiac function is frequently compromised in COPD, mainly as cor pulmonale. This is characterized by right ventricle dysfunction caused by high impedance of the lung vasculature. In more advanced stages the right ventricle dilates, producing incompetence of the tricuspid valve which leads to an increase in right atrial pressure. Additionally, the change in the shape of the right ventricle shifts the interventricular septum into the left ventricle, reducing the left ventricular volume with associated impairment of performance.

Acute respiratory failure further damages cardiac function by additional mechanisms. First, hypoxemia increases pulmonary hypertension by enhancing the hypoxic vasoconstrictive effect. Second, when hyperinflation develops, some pulmonary vessels collapse, leading to a reduction in the vascular cross-sectional area that also impairs right ventricular impedance. Third, pleural pressure becomes more negative during inspiration and even positive during active expiration, translating these pressure swings to the transmural ventricular pressure. As a result, both right ventricular preload and afterload increase.

Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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