It is a condition in which the right side of the heart loses its ability to pump blood efficiently.
This means that the heart is not pumping blood to the lungs normally. It is also called heart-lung disease.
The most common cause of this type of heart failure is left heart failure.
However, other conditions, such as certain lung diseases, can cause the right ventricle to fail even when there is no problem with the left ventricle.
What’s with the heart?
Most people develop heart failure due to a problem with the left ventricle. But the reduced function of the right ventricle can also occur in heart failure.
When the blood starts to recede behind the failing left ventricle and into the lungs, it will be more difficult for the right ventricle to pump the blood back through the lungs.
Like the left ventricle, the right ventricle will weaken over time and begin to fail.
Right heart failure occurs in about 1 in 20 people. Coronary heart disease is the most common cause of heart failure in the United States, but it can be a complication of other conditions.
Heart failure can affect the right side of the heart (right ventricle), left (left ventricle), or both sides.
In right heart failure, the right ventricle loses its pumping function, and the blood can regress to other areas of the body, causing congestion.
The congestion affects the liver, the gastrointestinal tract, and the extremities.
In addition, the right ventricle may be unable to pump blood efficiently to the lungs and left ventricle.
The causes of right heart failure include left heart failure and lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Other causes include congenital heart disease, blood clots in the pulmonary arteries, pulmonary hypertension, and heart valve disease.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Swelling of feet and ankles.
- Urinate more often at night.
- Neck veins pronounced.
- Palpitations (feeling of the heartbeat).
- An irregular, fast heartbeat.
A variety of different situations can trigger an episode of heart failure, including:
- Increase in fluid intake or salt.
- Blockage in the coronary arteries.
- Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias).
- Hyperactivity of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).
- Kidney disease
Many people admitted to the hospital with heart failure do not follow a recommended low-salt diet or take medications for heart failure as prescribed.
Exams and tests
A physical examination can reveal:
- Abnormal heart sounds, like a murmur.
- Abnormal lung sounds.
- Swelling of ankles.
- Neck veins distended.
- Liver enlarged.
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat.
- Weight gain.
Common tests may include:
- Chest x-ray.
- ECG (electrocardiograma).
The following laboratory tests can be performed:
- Blood chemistry
- The B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP).
- Complete blood count.
- Liver function tests.
- Thyroid function tests.
- Urine analysis.
- Cardiac catheterization can also be done.
Heart failure requires regular monitoring by your health care provider. The treatment goals include controlling symptoms, reducing the heart’s workload, and improving the heart’s ability to function.
Any underlying disorder and causes should be treated, if possible. The most common therapy for right heart failure is to treat left heart loss.
Replacements and valve procedures such as bypass surgery and angioplasty can help some people.
Changes in lifestyle
Generally, it would help reduce the salt in your food and the number of liquids you drink. You should also consider losing weight if you are overweight, quit smoking, and avoid too much alcohol.
Diuretics can help reduce fluid accumulation. Furosemide, torsemide, or bumetanide may help moderate to severe symptoms.
Hydrochlorothiazide, chlorthalidone, and chlorothiazide may be used for mild symptoms. Another drug, Spironolactone, can prevent salt retention and help patients with severe heart failure.
Medications that reduce your heart’s workload include ACE inhibitors, ARBs, and drugs such as hydralazine and long-acting nitrates. They can prolong the lives of very sick patients with failing hearts.
Beta-blockers (such as metoprolol or carvedilol) may help prevent death in some patients with heart failure.
The medication Digitalis may be prescribed to increase the heart’s muscle contraction and help prevent hospitalization.
Some patients with abnormalities on the electrocardiogram may benefit from a biventricular pacemaker, which helps both ventricles contract simultaneously (cardiac resynchronization therapy).
A defibrillation device, such as an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, helps some patients. They can be combined and implanted in a single device (biventricular pacemaker-ICD).
A patient with severe heart failure who does not respond to these therapies may require a heart transplant.
Heart failure is a severe disorder. Everything possible should be done to prevent the heart’s pumping problems from getting worse.
There is no cure, but many forms of heart failure can be controlled with medications, treating underlying disorders, and using implanted devices with defibrillation capabilities.
- Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) can be life-threatening.
- Constant hospitalizations.
- Side effects of medications for heart failure.
When to contact a medical professional.
Call your doctor if you notice symptoms of congestive heart failure and your symptoms change, worsen, or do not improve with treatment.
Also, call if you develop chest pain, weakness, fainting, fast or irregular heartbeat, sudden weight gain, swelling, or other new or unexplained symptoms.
Follow the recommendations of your health care provider to treat conditions that can cause congestive heart failure.