1. Cardiovascular Physiology in Obesity

  1. Ali A. El Solh MD, MPH3,4,5
  1. Eric J. Chan MD1 and
  2. Martin A. Alpert MD2

Published Online: 19 APR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781119962083.ch1

Critical Care Management of the Obese Patient

Critical Care Management of the Obese Patient

How to Cite

Chan, E. J. and Alpert, M. A. (2012) Cardiovascular Physiology in Obesity, in Critical Care Management of the Obese Patient (ed A. A. El Solh), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781119962083.ch1

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, USA

  2. 4

    Critical Care Western New York Healthcare System, USA

  3. 5

    Western New York Respiratory Research Center Buffalo, NY, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Medicine, Columbia, MO, USA

  2. 2

    Brent M. Parker Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine, Columbia, MO, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 APR 2012
  2. Published Print: 16 APR 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470655900

Online ISBN: 9781119962083



  • Obesity;
  • Cardiovascular hemodynamics;
  • Left ventricular mass;
  • Left ventricular diastolic function;
  • Left ventricular systolic function;
  • Obesity hypertension;
  • Weight reduction


Obesity produces a variety of hemodynamic changes that cause alterations in cardiac morphology and ventricular function. These alterations may be intensified by the presence of systemic hypertension. In those with severe obesity these pathophysiologic sequelae may contribute to the development of left ventricular failure, pulmonary arterial hypertension, and subsequent right ventricular failure. Sleep apnea and obesity hypoventilation may help to promote pulmonary arterial hypertension and further facilitate right heart decompensation. Such patients are at particularly high risk for these complications in the critical care setting. Knowledge of cardiovascular pathophysiology in obesity may assist the intensivist in the successful management of these challenging patients.