Right-Sided Heart Failure: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Why Is Right-Sided Heart Failure Different?

The fact that the human heart is the most relentless organ in the body is undisputed. Whether you acknowledge it or not, your heart works for you unconditionally 24/7. Unfortunately, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, and stress can take a toll on the heart’s functioning too. That’s when heart diseases occur.

The heart is divided into two sides and has 4 compartments, 2 atria, and 2 ventricles, in total. The left ventricle does the maximum amount of work and pumps oxygenated blood to the entire body. The right ventricle, on the other hand, pumps blood with carbon dioxide to the lungs and gets it replenished with oxygen.


What Happens In Right-Sided Heart Failure?

right ventricle fails in right heart failure

Right-sided heart failure simply means the right side of the heart is unable to pump blood to the lungs. Medically, it is also known as cor pulmonale or pulmonary heart disease. Usually, the left side of the heart is designed to work more. It supplies oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.


The right side of the heart is weaker in comparison to the left and is not used to pumping a lot of blood. It pumps oxygen-deprived blood to the lungs via the pulmonary artery. The pressure in the artery should be right enough to carry the blood to the lungs. Unfortunately, in certain conditions, the pressure rises and the right ventricle has to work harder. This eventually leads to right-sided heart failure.1

Causes Of Right-Sided Heart Failure

causes of right-sided heart failure


The right-side of the heart fails whenever there are conditions that overload it. Below are the diseases in which the right-side of the heart has to work really hard.

1. Left-Sided Heart Failure

If the left side of the heart has already been affected by a disease, the right side has to compensate for it. In chronic or untreated left-sided heart failure, the right-side also fails consequently.


2. Chronic Lung Diseases

These can arise due to smoking, infection, pollution. They include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), obstructive sleep apnea and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

3. Congenital Heart Disease

Right-sided heart failure could arise due to a birth defect in the heart that involves its valves.


4. Blocks In The Right-Side Of The Heart

Blocks in the blood vessels of the right ventricle can lead to the weakening of the heart and cardiac arrest leading to right-sided heart failure.

Symptoms of Right-Sided Heart Failure

symptoms of right-sided heart failure


The classic symptoms of a heart attack are experienced in right-side heart failure too.

  • Severe breathlessness
  • Fatigue
  • High-degree of swelling in the ankles, abdomen, thighs, extremities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bouts of fainting on exertion

Treatment Of Right-Sided Heart Failure

treatment of right-sided heart failure


As soon as you experience the above symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. A thorough diagnosis and treatment protocol is followed to manage the condition.

Diagnosis is usually confirmed by conducting an ECG, echocardiogram, angiography and various blood tests. Once the cause of heart failure has been identified the treatment is usually directed towards it. It includes medical and surgical therapy depending on the cause and severity of heart failure.2

Ways To Show Your Heart Some Love

habits for a healthy heart

Heart failure affects health severely but there are several ways to prevent it. All you have to do is take care of your heart. Below are ways you can show your heart some care and gratitude for its efforts.

  • Quit smoking even in passive form too
  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like seafood, nuts, berries, chocolate, whole grains, fruits, and veggies
  • Reduce your consumption of salt, refined sugar and trans fats
  • Exercise daily for 45 minutes at least to strengthen your heart muscles
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Be happy. Practice relaxation techniques to beat stress and develop optimism
  • Protect your body from health issues like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol. These play a huge role in causing heart diseases

Remember, a hearty life needs a healthy heart!