Left-Sided vs Right-Sided Heart Failure

Left-Sided vs Right-Sided Heart Failure

A patient in heart failure may present with different symptoms and require different interventions. One of the main considerations is whether the patient’s heart failure is left-sided or right-sided. The left and right side of the heart have separate functions, and here, we will review the differences between the two sides of the heart and how the heart failure on each side may present.

Interestingly, right-sided heart failure is usually caused by left-sided heart failure, so as a nurse, you should constantly be on the lookout for any and all symptoms of heart failure. Treatment for both left-sided and right-sided heart failure is dependent on the symptoms presented as there is no true cure for heart failure. Most treatments will attempt to reduce the stress on your heart muscles, which may involve diet and exercise changes or the addition of medications.

The following chart summarizes what you need to know:

Left-Sided Heart Failure Right-Sided Heart Failure
The left ventricle receives blood
from the lungs and pumps this oxygenated
blood out of your heart to your
body. When the left side fails, your heart
cannot pump enough oxygenated blood to
your body, and this can cause blood to back up in the lungs.
The right ventricle pumps
deoxygenated blood from your body
to your lungs. When the right side fails,
it usually cannot adequately fill with
and pump enough deoxygenated blood to the lungs, causing a backup of
deoxygenated blood in your veins.
Symptoms: shortness of breath,
accumulation of fluid in the lungs
(pulmonary edema), decreased cardiac
Symptoms: excess fluids in the tissues;
swelling in legs, ankles, and belly;
liver congestion or failure.

Difference Between Left Sided and Right Sided Heart Failure

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