What is biventricular heart failure? Biventricular heart failure is a type of heart disease where the heart can no longer efficiently pump blood throughout the body. This disease may affect the left or the right side of the heart. Sometimes, having one side of the heart affected by heart failure can lead to the other side being affected. When both sides of the heart are affected, it is called biventricular heart failure.
Symptoms of biventricular heart failure are very similar to right-sided heart failure. Swelling in the legs, or edema, is usually present in biventricular heart failure because of the fluid that is retained. Edema can also lead to dry skin on the legs due to the pressure on the tissue, as well as an eczema-type rash that can be further complicated by an ulcer that will not heal. Weight may be gained from fluid retention, especially in the organs. Fluid in the organs can cause them to swell and the abdominal wall may expand.
Many different diseases and conditions can cause biventricular heart failure. High blood pressure is one of the most common causes of heart failure and should be monitored frequently. Preexisting diseases of the heart valves, cardiomyopathy and congenital heart diseases can also lead to heart failure. Ischaemic heart disease, a clot of blood that is in one of the coronary arteries, can cause irreversible damage to the muscles of the heart and later cause heart failure. Although it is rare, endocrine disorders and anemia can lead to heart failure.
Prescription medications are usually one of the first treatments of biventricular heart failure. Some medications help relax the heart, while others help it function better. Sometimes coronary artery widening or valve replacement surgery is necessary. Lifestyle changes are usually also a must, such as stopping smoking, losing weight or lowering your blood pressure. When being treated, it is important to remember that heart failure is a very progressive disease. This makes it important to follow the doctor’s instructions as closely as possible.