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20.10.2015 | Ausgabe 3/2016

Heart Failure Reviews 3/2016

Hospital and intensive care unit management of decompensated pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular failure

Heart Failure Reviews > Ausgabe 3/2016
Angel Coz Yataco, Melina Aguinaga Meza, Ketan P. Buch, Margaret A. Disselkamp


Pulmonary hypertension and concomitant right ventricular failure present a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge in the intensive care unit and have been associated with a high mortality. Significant co-morbidities and hemodynamic instability are often present, and routine critical care unit resuscitation may worsen hemodynamics and limit the chances of survival in patients with an already underlying poor prognosis. Right ventricular failure results from structural or functional processes that limit the right ventricle’s ability to maintain adequate cardiac output. It is commonly seen as the result of left heart failure, acute pulmonary embolism, progression or decompensation of pulmonary hypertension, sepsis, acute lung injury, or in the perioperative setting. Prompt recognition of the underlying cause and institution of treatment with a thorough understanding of the elements necessary to optimize preload, cardiac contractility, enhance systemic arterial perfusion, and reduce right ventricular afterload are of paramount importance. Moreover, the emergence of previously uncommon entities in patients with pulmonary hypertension (pregnancy, sepsis, liver disease, etc.) and the availability of modern devices to provide support pose additional challenges that must be addressed with an in-depth knowledge of this disease.

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