1/1. Pulmonary hypertension and cor pulmonale in the sickle hemoglobinopathies.Although pulmonary hypertension is frequently mentioned as a complication of the sicklemic state, careful review of the medical literature revealed only a single subject in whom cardiac catheterization data substantiated this diagnosis. In two additional patients, both clinical and autopsy findings of pulmonary vascular disease and cor pulmonale were described, although no hemodynamic studies had been performed. We have therefore detailed the clinical history, cardiac catheterization results, and autopsy findings in three previously undescribed patients. These three patients, along with the three case reports culled from the medical literature, from the substance of this review. Pulmonary hypertension should be suspected in patients with sickle hemoglobinopathy in whom either fixed dyspnea or unexplained syncope develops. Early in the course of the disease, right heart catheterization remains the only way to establish the diagnosis with certainty. Noninvasive studies such as chest x-ray, electrocardiography, and echocardiography tend to be nondiagnostic until late in the course of right ventricular failure. Although specific therapy has yet to be defined, the ominous prognosis of this complication of sickle hemoglobinopathy supports the application of experimental modalities such as continuous oxygen therapy, partial exchange transfusion, or even limited phlebotomy.
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keywords = prognosis
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