Right-side heart failure (cor pulmonale)

Your heart is essentially a pump delivering blood throughout the body.

Heart failure happens when one or both sides of the heart become weaker and your heart doesn’t pump as well as it should. Right-sided heart failure usually occurs as a result of left-sided failure. When the left ventricle fails, the right side of the heart has to work harder to compensate. As the heart muscle loses strength, blood and fluid become backed up in the body. Right-sided heart failure can also be caused by certain lung diseases and by pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the arteries of your lungs.

This condition tends to be chronic and slowly progressive, but sudden right-sided heart failure can occur.

Initially, symptoms may occur only on exertion. With time, you may experience symptoms during light activity or even at rest. As the condition progresses, right-sided heart failure can cause severe fluid retention, difficulty breathing and even shock. Ultimately, sudden right-sided heart failure can be life-threatening. While there are many treatment options, the best treatment for you will depend on the cause of your right-sided heart-failure.

Symptoms may include:
• Shortness of breath
• Swelling of feet and ankles
• Pronounced neck veins
• Palpitations
• Fatigue
• Weakness
• Exertional fainting or lightheadedness

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