Severe right heart failure in a patient with chronic obstructive lung disease: a diagnostic challenge.

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A 55-year-old male was admitted for evaluation of severe dyspnoea and hypoxaemia. Physical examination upon admission showed elevated jugular venous pressure and an accentuated second heart sound. Chest radiograph showed cardiomegaly with increased bibasilar markings. Arterial blood gas analysis while breathing room air showed marked hypoxaemia. High resolution computed tomography angiography of the chest showed modestly enlarged mediastinal lymph nodes with discrete diffuse ground-glass attenuation especially at the lower lung zones. Positron emission tomography using 18F labelled 2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) demonstrated the mediastinal lymph nodes were FDG-avid. Transthoracic echocardiography showed dilated hypokinetic right heart chambers with bulging of the interventricular septum to the left, compatible with acute cor-pulmonale. From the tricuspid regurgitation jet measurement a systolic pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) of 48 mmHg was estimated. Patent foramen ovale was suspected on bubble test. Right heart catheterisation confirmed pulmonary arterial hypertension: mPAP 47 mmHg, pulmonary artery occlusion pressure 5 mmHg, cardiac index 1.1 L/min/m2, pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) 959 Pulmonary function tests showed a marked diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) decrease of 32% predicted but no obstructive lung deficit. Before an open lung biopsy could be scheduled the patient developed acute cardiogenic shock. At autopsy pulmonary veno-occlusive disease with marked pulmonary hypertension was diagnosed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-162
Number of pages4
JournalIndian J Chest Dis Allied Sci
Issue numberJuy-September
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Echocardiography
  • Heart Failure
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle aged
  • Pulmonary Disease
  • Chronic Obstructive
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ventricular Function


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