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Is Cor Pulmonale Reversable?

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Q. Once we have cor pulmonale, what then? Is there nothing that can be done to reverse that damage to the heart? Kathy W * * * A. Good question, Kathy! Cor Pulmonale is not thought to be reversible because of the component of lost vascularity. BUT, in some cases, right heart enlargement CAN be reversed to some degree by "normalizing" oxygenation AND with reconditioning (the dreaded "E-word" - - - exercise). "Normalization" of oxygenation means JUST THAT. You have to maintain relatively high levels (> 94 % - - at ALL POSSIBLE times, and at least > 75 % of the time) Exercise must be vigorous enough to challenge heart function to increase AND must occur under conditions of normal oxygen saturation. Even when conditions are made ideal for the change to occur, we still cannot predict who will or will not change/improve. Its kind of a roll of the dice. I have seen improvement in many patients. But I'd have to estimate that it was less than half of the time. When I speak of improvement, I ... more
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