The most common cause of right-sided heart failure is actually
left-sided heart failure (either systolic or diastolic heart failure). The
table below outlines the causes of right-sided heart failure.
Causes of right-sided heart failure
What is it?
How does it cause right-sided heart failure?
Left-sided heart failure
The left ventricle does not pump blood efficiently,
leading to pressure buildup behind the left side of the heart that eventually
causes the right side of the heart to fail.
Blood backs up behind the left ventricle into the
left atrium, in the lungs, and then eventually in to the right ventricle, which
also eventually fails, allowing blood to then back up farther into the
extremities, the liver, and the other organs.
Chronic lung disease
Includes emphysema, pulmonary embolism, and other
causes of pulmonary hypertension
High blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries
increases the workload of the right ventricle, eventually causing the right
ventricle to fail.
Coronary artery disease
Blockage of the arteries that supply blood to your
CAD can cause left-sided heart failure leading to
right-sided heart failure or can directly cause right-sided heart failure by
blocking blood supply to the right ventricle.
Narrowing of the pulmonic valve that limits blood
flow out of the right ventricle
Increases the work of the right ventricle; similar
to chronic lung disease
Narrowing of the tricuspid valve
Limits blood flow out of the right atrium, causing
enlargement of the right atrium and backup of blood flowing to it
Tricuspid valve doesn't close properly, causing
blood in the right ventricle to flow back into the right atrium
Causes volume overload of the right ventricle, which
eventually causes right ventricular dilatation and failure
The pericardium is a membrane sac around the heart.
Repeated or ongoing inflammation of it causes stiffening and thickening and
prevents the heart from expanding normally to pump.
A thickened pericardium restricts the heart's
ability to pump effectively.
An abnormal connection between the left and right
side of the heart, usually present from birth
Causes a volume overload of the right ventricle,
similar to tricuspid regurgitation
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
August 5, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 05, 2010
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