The term ‘heart failure’ refers the inability of the heart to pump blood. If the left ventricle, which is the main pumping chamber of the heart fails, the risk of right-sided heart failure also increases. This write-up provides information on the causes of the right sided failure.
The human heart is a muscular organ that performs the vital function of pumping blood throughout the body. It comprises four chambers. The two upper chambers are referred to as atria, while the lower ones are called ventricles. The right side of the human heart comprises the right atrium and right ventricle. These chambers receive the deoxygenated blood from the veins and pump the blood into the lungs.
The left side consists of left atrium and the left ventricle. It receives the oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and pumps the blood to the rest of the body. The condition wherein the heart is unable to pump up blood effectively is medically referred to as congestive heart failure. When the right ventricle is unable to pump blood, the blood may back up into the other parts of the body, whereas inability of the left ventricle can cause a buildup of fluid in the lungs. The body’s requirements for blood and oxygen will not be met in the event of a heart failure. This condition can have serious repercussions on one’s health.
Here are some of the medical conditions that could make one susceptible to right-sided failure.
When the left ventricle is unable to pump blood properly, it causes pressure to buildup on the left side. It causes blood to back up into the lungs and enter the right ventricle. This puts pressure on the right ventricle and increases the risk of a right-sided failure. Coronary artery disease is one of the most common causes of this condition. When the arteries supplying blood to the heart get blocked, the supply of the blood to the ventricles gets blocked. This can cause both right and left-sided failure.
People affected by lung diseases such as pulmonary hypertension, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or pulmonary embolism are also susceptible. Pulmonary artery is a specialized artery that is connected to the right ventricle. It carries deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs. Narrowing of the pulmonary artery can also put immense pressure on the right ventricle, thereby causing serious damage to the heart muscle.
Besides these conditions, heart valve disorders could also bethe contributing factors. Tricuspid stenosis is a condition wherein the tricuspid valve, which is the valve situated between the right atrium and the right ventricle, becomes constricted. Since this valve facilitates the passage of blood from the atrium to ventricle, the narrowing of this valve affects the flow of blood. When the blood is not able to flow out of the right atrium, it causes the right atrium to enlarge.
Tricuspid regurgitation is another heart disease wherein the valve doesn’t shut properly. Due to this anomaly, the back-flow of blood during the contraction of ventricle cannot be prevented. This causes volume overload, which in turn might cause right ventricular failure. Inflammation and thickening of the pericardium, which is a serous membrane surrounding the heart, can also affect the heart’s ability to pump blood. Certain congenital heart defects could also be responsible for this heart condition.
Symptoms and Treatment
The common symptoms include swelling of feet and ankles, weakness, fatigue, weight gain, irregular heartbeat, palpitations, frequent urination, and fainting spells. A cardiologist must be consulted at the earliest, if a person has been experiencing these symptoms. Blood tests, chest X-ray, echocardiogram or other imaging procedures can help in throwing light on the condition of the heart. Since heart failure could be caused due to various medical conditions, it’s important that the underlying cause for this heart problem is treated soon.
The treatment options will vary, depending on the extent of damage to the heart and the patient’s overall health. While medicines will be prescribed for improving the heart’s health, surgery might be required in serious cases. Besides the use of medicines such as ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and diuretics, one will also have to make certain lifestyle-related changes. Patients are generally asked to follow certain dietary guidelines and refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol.
The incidence of cardiovascular problems is becoming high due to unhealthy lifestyle choices people make. Medical help must be sought by anyone who has been experiencing the signs of heart failure. Timely diagnosis and treatment will surely help in averting serious damage to the heart.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.