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Heart Fail Rev. 2012 May;17(3):511-27. doi: 10.1007/s10741-011-9272-0.

Right side of heart failure.

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University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA.


The function of the right ventricle (RV) in heart failure (HF) has been mostly ignored until recently. A 2006 report of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute identified a gap between RV research efforts and its clinical importance compared with that of the left ventricle. This recent shift in paradigm is fueled by the prognostic value ascribed to RV failure in HF and morbidity/mortality after myocardial infarction and surgery. In this review, we examine the significance of RV failure in the HF setting, its clinical presentation and pathophysiology, and ways to evaluate RV function using echocardiographic measurements. Furthermore, we discuss the medical management of RV failure including traditional therapies like beta-blockers and newer options like nitric oxide, phosphodiesterase inhibitors, and calcium sensitizers. Mechanical support is also examined. Finally, this review places an emphasis on RV failure in the setting of left ventricular assist devices and heart transplantation.

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