Barbara A. Cockrill, M.D.

Specialty: Pulmonary Medicine

Brigham and Women's Hospital

15 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115


The following is a list of recent publications for which this Partners Asthma Center physician has been cited as an author in PubMed databases. Study abstracts have been provided for your convenience.

Cockrill, B. A., R. M. Kacmarek, et al. (2001). "Comparison of the effects of nitric oxide, nitroprusside, and nifedipine on hemodynamics and right ventricular contractility in patients with chronic pulmonary hypertension." Chest 119(1): 128-36.

STUDY OBJECTIVES: The effects of inhaled nitric oxide (NO) on hemodynamics and right ventricular (RV) contractility were compared with those of nitroprusside and nifedipine in 14 patients with severe chronic pulmonary hypertension. STUDY DESIGN: Micromanometer and balloon-tipped right heart catheterization were performed. Inhaled NO, IV nitroprusside, and sublingual nifedipine were administered sequentially while patients breathed > 90% oxygen. SETTING: Cardiac catheterization laboratory in a tertiary care teaching hospital. PATIENTS: Fourteen patients with severe pulmonary hypertension unrelated to left ventricular dysfunction. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: During NO inhalation, mean systemic arterial pressure (MAP) was unchanged, but pulmonary artery (PA) pressure ([mean +/- SEM] 49 +/- 2 mm Hg vs 44 +/- 2 mm Hg; p < 0.01), pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR; 829 +/- 68 vs 669 +/- 64 dyne x s x cm(-5); p < 0.01) and RV end-diastolic pressure (RVEDP; 12 +/- 1 vs 10 +/- 1 mm Hg; p < 0.01) decreased. Stroke volume index (SVI; 31 +/- 2 vs 35 +/- 3 mL/m(2); p < 0.05) increased, and the first derivative of RV pressure at 15 mm Hg developed pressure (RV +dP/dt at DP15) was unchanged. During nitroprusside administration, MAP decreased (105 +/- 5 vs 76 +/- 5 mm Hg; p < 0.01), PA was unchanged (48 +/- 2 vs 45 +/- 3 mm Hg; p = not significant), and PVR decreased (791 +/- 53 vs 665 +/- 53 dyne x s x cm(-5); p < 0.01). RV +dP/dt at DP15 increased (425 +/- 22 vs 465 +/- 29 mm Hg/s; p < 0.05), but SVI was unchanged. Nifedipine decreased MAP (103 +/- 5 vs 94 +/- 5 mm Hg; p < 0.01), PA and PVR were unchanged, RVEDP increased (12 +/- 1 vs 14 +/- 2 mm Hg; p < 0.01), and RV +dP/dt at DP15 decreased (432 +/- 90 vs 389 +/- 21 mm Hg/s; p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Inhaled NO is a selective pulmonary vasodilator in patients with chronic pulmonary hypertension that improves cardiac performance without altering RV contractility. Nitroprusside caused a similar degree of pulmonary vasodilation. In contrast to inhaled NO, nitroprusside caused systemic hypotension associated with an increase in RV contractility. Acute administration of nifedipine did not cause pulmonary vasodilation, but RVEDP increased and RV contractility decreased.

Cockrill, B. A. and C. A. Hales (1999). "Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis." Annu Rev Med 50: 303-16.

Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is a syndrome seen in patients with asthma and cystic fibrosis. It is characterized by chronic colonization of the airways with a ubiquitous fungus, Aspergillus fumigatus. The clinical expression of ABPA results from the complex interaction of chronic colonization of the airways with A fumigatus, host factors allowing this colonization, and the host’s genetically determined immune response. Clinically the syndrome is characterized by recurrent episodes of wheezing, mucus production, pulmonary infiltrates, and elevated levels of serum IgE. Many patients develop central bronchiectasis, and a subset will go on to endstage fibrotic lung disease. It is thought that treatment will prevent this progression. The mainstay of therapy remains oral corticosteroids.

Cockrill, B. A. (1997). "The use of nitric oxide in primary pulmonary hypertension." Respir Care Clin N Am 3(4): 505-19.

Kacmarek, R. M., R. Ripple, et al. (1996). "Inhaled nitric oxide. A bronchodilator in mild asthmatics with methacholine-induced bronchospasm." Am J Respir Crit Care Med 153(1): 128-35.

Nitric oxide (NO) reduces airway tone in the methacholine-treated guinea pig. We examined whether low levels of inhaled NO gas would relax airway smooth muscle tone in patients with mild asthma subjected to methacholine-induced bronchospasm. Thirteen adult volunteers with mild asthma inspired increasing concentrations of methacholine until their baseline forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1, 3.29 +/- 0.17 L, mean +/- SEM) decreased by > or = 20% (2.33 +/- 0.18 L, p < 0.01). Thereafter, they sequentially inhaled 100 parts per million (ppm) NO, 40% O2; 40% O2; and 100 ppm NO, 40% O2 while spirometry was performed. Subsequent inhalation of isoproterenol returned the FEV1 levels to baseline. Inhaling 100 ppm NO increased FEV1 to 2.66 +/- 0.18 L (p < 0.01), and this increase was maintained after NO was discontinued. FEV1 did not change during the second period of NO inhalation. Similar results were observed for vital capacity, but no significant effect was noted on forced expiratory flow at 25% of vital capacity or peak expiratory flow. Subjects were then divided into a responder subgroup, which showed a mean increase in FEV1 after initial NO inhalation of 560 +/- 150 ml, and a nonresponder subgroup, which showed a mean increase in FEV1 of 129 +/- 29 ml. Our data suggest that inhalation of nitric oxide by patients with mild asthma with methacholine-induced bronchospasm results in a minor but significant relaxation of airway tone.

Thompson, B. T. and B. A. Cockrill (1994). "Renal-dose dopamine: a siren song?" Lancet 344(8914): 7-8.

Steinberg, K. P., J. A. Milberg, et al. (1994). "Evolution of bronchoalveolar cell populations in the adult respiratory distress syndrome." Am J Respir Crit Care Med 150(1): 113-22.

To characterize the evolution of inflammation in the adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and test the hypothesis that sustained alveolar inflammation is associated with a poor outcome in patients with ARDS, we performed fiberoptic bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) in 125 patients and compared BAL cells and protein concentrations in survivors and nonsurvivors. ARDS followed sepsis syndrome in 35 patients, major trauma in 41, and other causes in 49. When possible, BAL was performed on Days 3, 7, and 14 after the onset of ARDS. Sixty-five patients (52%) had more than one BAL. We first performed analyses on each BAL day using information from all 212 BAL in the 125 patients (cross-sectional analysis). All patients had increased leukocytes and total protein in the first BAL (Day 3 after onset of ARDS). In patients with ARDS following sepsis, the percentage of BAL polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) was higher on Day 7 (p = 0.11) and particularly Day 14 (p = 0.02) in patients who died; there was a consistent trend of a higher PMN concentration on all days in patients who died then in those who lived. In patients with ARDS following trauma and other risks, however, BAL PMN measures did not distinguish survivors from patients who died. Analysis of serial data from the patients with more than one BAL showed that alveolar macrophages (AM) increased in survivors of ARDS, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of total cells; this pattern was most pronounced in the sepsis patients. The cross-sectional data analysis suggests that sustained alveolar inflammation occurs frequently in patients with ARDS following sepsis and is associated with a high mortality.

Semigran, M. J., B. A. Cockrill, et al. (1994). "Hemodynamic effects of inhaled nitric oxide in heart failure." J Am Coll Cardiol 24(4): 982-8.

OBJECTIVES. This study was performed to assess the utility of inhaled nitric oxide as a selective pulmonary vasodilator in patients with severe chronic heart failure and to compare its hemodynamic effects with those of nitroprusside, a nonselective vasodilator. BACKGROUND. Preoperative pulmonary vascular resistance is a predictor of right heart failure after heart transplantation. Non-selective vasodilators administered preoperatively to assess the reversibility of pulmonary vasoconstriction cause systemic hypotension, limiting their utility. METHODS. Systemic and pulmonary hemodynamic measurement were made at baseline, during oxygen inhalation and with the addition of graded doses of inhaled nitric oxide or intravenous nitroprusside in 16 patients with New York Heart Association class III or IV heart failure referred for heart transplantation. RESULTS. Pulmonary vascular resistance decreased to a greater extent with 80 ppm nitric oxide (mean +/- SEM 256 +/- 41 to 139 +/- 14 dynes.s.cm-5) than with the maximally tolerated dose of nitroprusside (264 +/- 49 to 169 +/- 30 dynes.s.cm-5, p < 0.05, nitric oxide vs. nitroprusside). Pulmonary capillary wedge pressure increased with 80 ppm nitric oxide (26 +/- 2 to 32 +/- 2 mm Hg, p < 0.05). Mean arterial pressure did not change with nitric oxide but decreased with nitroprusside. Seven of the 16 patients, including 1 patient who did not have an adequate decrease in pulmonary vascular resistance with nitroprusside but did with nitric oxide, have undergone successful heart transplantation. CONCLUSIONS. Inhaled nitric oxide is a selective pulmonary vasodilator in patients with pulmonary hypertension due to left heart failure and may identify patients with reversible pulmonary vasoconstriction in whom agents such as nitroprusside cause systemic hypotension. Inhaled nitric oxide causes an increase in left ventricular filling pressure by an unknown mechanism.

Liao, J. K., B. A. Cockrill, et al. (1991). "Acute myocardial infarction after ergonovine administration for uterine bleeding." Am J Cardiol 68(8): 823-4.