Chronically low blood levels of oxygen may lead to pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs), and possibly to cor pulmonale. Cor pulmonale is also called right-sided heart failure, and is characterized by enlargement of the right ventricle. Treatment targets the underlying illness and may include supplemental oxygen, a low-salt diet or diuretics (water pills).
Review Date: 1/25/2013
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.