If you hang around Your Nursing Tutor for longer than 30-seconds, then you usually discover that I think Anatomy & Physiology is one of the most important things you can study to be successful in nursing school. Remembering the most common cause of right-sided heart failure is a perfect example of why I believe that.
If you review the blood flow through the heart and body, you can quickly see that the blood goes into the Right-side of the heart, through the lungs, into the left-side of the heart, then out to the body. It should be no surprise that left-sided heart failure is more common than right-sided. After all, the left-side of the heart has to work way harder to push blood around the entire body, while the right-side of the heart only has to push blood through the lungs.
So let’s start with the problem of left-sided heart failure.
In left-sided heart failure, the left-side of the heart is no longer as effective at pushing blood into the body. Basically, it can only push a little bit of blood at a time.
Now, what does this mean for the right-side of the heart? Well, there’s nothing wrong with the right-side of the heart (yet), so the right-side of the heart continues to try and push a LOT of blood into the lungs. Once the blood gets to the lungs, though, it’s like a traffic jam because the left-side of the heart can’t move the blood as quickly anymore.
Over time, the right-side of the heart has to work harder and harder to push blood into the already overcrowded lungs. Eventually, the right-side of the heart just gets tired and can’t do it anymore. And you end up with right-sided Heart Failure.
That means that the most common cause of Right-sided Heart Failure is: Left-sided Heart Failure.