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Right-sided heart failure

  • Definition

    Right-sided heart failure is a condition in which the right side of the heart loses its ability to pump blood efficiently.


    Alternative Names

    Congestive heart failure - right-sided


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Right-sided heart failure occurs in about 1 in 20 people. Coronary artery disease is the most common cause of heart failure in the United States, but it can be a complication of other conditions.

    Heart failure may affect the right side of the heart (right ventricle), the left side (left ventricle), or both sides. In right-sided heart failure, the right ventricle loses its pumping function, and blood may back up into other areas of the body, producing congestion. Congestion affects the liver, the gastrointestinal tract, and the limbs. In addition, the right ventricle may be unable to pump blood efficiently to the lungs and to the left ventricle.

    Causes of right-sided heart failure include left-sided heart failure and lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Other causes include congenital heart disease, clots in pulmonary arteries, pulmonary hypertension, and heart valve disease.