Right-Sided Heart Failure

Right-sided heart failure is the result of the right ventricle’s inability to effectively pump blood to the lungs. It is also called pulmonary heart disease. Right-sided heart failure is often caused by a weakened left ventricle that is struggling to efficiently pump blood to the rest of the body, also known as left-sided heart failure. Fluid is then pushed back into the lungs, causing the right side of the heart to weaken and over time, fail.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) can also lead to right-sided heart failure. CAD occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become hardened and narrowed. CAD can lead to right-sided heart failure due to a blockage in an artery that supplies blood to the right ventricle, or if a blockage has caused left-sided heart failure. Other conditions that may cause right-sided heart failure include chronic lung disease, pulmonic stenosis, tricuspid stenosis, and pericardial constriction.

Symptoms of right-sided heart failure can include:

  • Awakening at night with shortness of breath
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Fluid retention causing swelling in the ankles, legs, feet and/or abdomen
  • Increased urge to urinate
  • Lack of appetite and nausea
  • Sudden weight gain

Risk factors of right-sided heart failure include age, congenital heart defects, abnormal heart arrhythmias, and previous heart attacks. While you cannot prevent all the risk factors associated with right-sided heart failure, you can take certain measures to reduce your risk. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing your blood sugar are just a few steps you can take to reduce your risk of right-sided heart failure.

 

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