Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 596051, 6 pages
Research Article

Right Heart Functional Changes in the Acute, Hypercapnic Exacerbations of COPD

1Respiratory Diseases Unit, ALS Respiratory and Critical Care Unit, School of Specialization in Respiratory Diseases, Sapienza University, Viale del Policlinico No. 155, 00161 Rome, Italy
2Department of Heart and Great Vessels Attilio Reale, Sapienza University, Viale del Policlinico No. 155, 00161 Rome, Italy
3Sapienza University, Viale del Policlinico No. 155, 00161 Rome, Italy

Received 17 April 2014; Accepted 25 April 2014; Published 23 June 2014

Academic Editor: Salvatore Rosanio

Copyright © 2014 Claudio Terzano 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.


Objective. To investigate the correlation between respiratory failure and the pulmonary circulation. We focused on anatomical and functional changes of the right heart. Design. Clinical investigation. Methods. We evaluated 75 patients hospitalized in our respiratory ward for COPD exacerbation. All patients underwent transthoracic echocardiography and measurements of right heart chambers. Moreover all patients underwent blood tests, measurement of blood pressure, evaluation of body mass index (BMI), ECGs, pulmonary function tests, and the Saint George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ). Results. Among 75 patients consecutively hospitalized, 56 patients with a COPD exacerbation were included in our study. We have emphasized the higher value of PAPs and the increased size of right atrial area in severe COPD patients. Significant correlation was observed between low values of PaO2 and larger area of the right atrium. The measurement of TAPSE showed a right ventricular dysfunction in all patients but especially in severe COPD patients. We have obtained a significant correlation between TAPSE and arterial blood gas. Conclusions. In patients with chronic respiratory failure, blood gas parameters should be considered as negative prognostic factors of right heart failure. Respiratory failure shows a relationship with pulmonary hypertension and with the anatomy and function of the right heart sections.