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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 184678, 4 pages
Review Article

Cardiovascular Function in Pulmonary Emphysema

Respiratory Disease & Lung Function Unit, Department of Clinical & Experimental Medicine, University of Parma, Padiglione Rasori, Via G. Rasori 10, 43125 Parma, Italy

Received 14 September 2013; Accepted 18 November 2013

Academic Editor: Enrico M. Clini

Copyright © 2013 Dina Visca et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic cardiovascular disease, such as coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and cardiac arrhythmias, have a strong influence on each other, and systemic inflammation has been considered as the main linkage between them. On the other hand, airflow limitation may markedly affect lung mechanics in terms of static and dynamic hyperinflation, especially in pulmonary emphysema, and they can in turn influence cardiac performance as well. Skeletal mass depletion, which is a common feature in COPD especially in pulmonary emphysema patients, may have also a role in cardiovascular function of these patients, irrespective of lung damage. We reviewed the emerging evidence that highlights the role of lung mechanics and muscle mass impairment on ventricular volumes, stroke volume, and stroke work at rest and on exercise in the presence of pulmonary emphysema. Patients with emphysema may differ among COPD population even in terms of cardiovascular function.