What is ventricular failure?

diagram of the heart inside the body

I have been told I have right ventricular failure. What does this mean, and is it the same thing as heart failure?

Senior Cardiac Nurse Christopher Allen says:

Your right ventricle is one of four chambers in your heart. It is responsible for pumping blood from your heart to your lungs, where the blood is replenished with oxygen. The left ventricle is responsible for then pumping the oxygenated blood around your body.

If you have right ventricular failure, this means that the muscle of your right ventricle is not pumping as efficiently as it should be. This can be caused by a number of conditions, including leftsided heart failure, high blood pressure in the lungs and heart valve disease.

If your left, right or both ventricles start to fail, this is classed as heart failure.

Christopher Allen

While both the left and right side of the heart have different responsibilities, they both pump blood around your heart. If your left, right or both ventricles start to fail, this is classed as heart failure.

Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, fluid retention in the lower part of the body and abdomen, and lethargy. The main cause of heart failure is a heart attack, but other causes include poorly controlled high blood pressure, or heart valve disease.

 

Christopher Allen

Meet the expert

Christopher Allen helps manage the BHF’s genetic information service and has extensive specialist experience of working in coronary care.

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