What is the role of theophylline in the treatment of cor pulmonale?

Updated: Dec 15, 2017
  • Author: Derek Leong, MD; Chief Editor: Henry H Ooi, MD, MRCPI  more...
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In addition to bronchodilatory effects, theophylline has been reported to reduce pulmonary vascular resistance and pulmonary arterial pressures acutely in patients with chronic cor pulmonale secondary to COPD. [38] Theophylline has a weak inotropic effect and thus may improve right and left ventricular ejection. Low doses of theophylline have also been suggested to have anti-inflammatory effects that help to control underlying lung diseases such as COPD. [39] As a result, considering the use of theophylline as adjunctive therapy in the management of chronic or decompensated cor pulmonale is reasonable in patients with underlying COPD. Theophylline has a narrow therapeutic index, and adverse effects include seizures, tachycardia, and other cardiac arrhythmias.

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