chapter  17
Pulmonary circulation
ByRobert Naeije, William MacNee
Pages 15

Although it had been known for many years that heart failure can complicate lung diseases, it was only in 1963 that a consensus conference sponsored by the World Health Organization pointed at the importance of ‘pulmonary heart disease’ or ‘cor pulmonale’ as a public health problem.1 The report defined cor pulmonale as right ventricular hypertrophy resulting from diseases which affect the structure or function of the lungs. This purely pathologic definition proved impractical, so that cor pulmonale became better understood by clinicians as an alteration of right ventricular function, with right ventricular dilatation and hypertrophy, in response to increased pulmonary arterial pressures caused by pulmonary disease.2-4 Pulmonary hypertension is a sine qua non for the development of cor pulmonale. The most common cause of cor pulmonale is COPD.