Emphysema and Airflow Obstruction Associated with Impaired Left Ventricular Filling

Very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) causes cor pulmonale - elevated pulmonary vascular resistance and secondary reductions in left ventricular filling, stroke volume, and cardiac output.

The authors of this NEJM study hypothesized that emphysema, as detected on computed tomography (CT), and airflow obstruction are inversely related to left ventricular end-diastolic volume, stroke volume, and cardiac output among persons without very severe lung disease.

Of the study participants, 13% were current smokers, 38% were former smokers, and 49% had never smoked.

A 10% increase in emphysema on CT was related to decrease in left ventricular end-diastolic volume, stroke volume, and cardiac output.

Percent emphysema and airflow obstruction were not associated with the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF).

Mind map of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (click to enlarge the image).

Percent Emphysema, Airflow Obstruction, and Impaired Left Ventricular Filling. R. Graham Barr et al. NEJM Volume 362:217-227 January 21, 2010 Number 3.

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