What is Left Sided Heart Failure

Left-sided heart failure also known as congestive heart failure- left is a severe heart condition where the left side of the heart is unable to pump enough blood to other parts of the body. Left sided heart failure is a very serious condition and can be life threatening if not treated immediately. Learn more about what is left sided heart failure here.

What is left sided heart failure

The left side of the heart takes in blood which is rich in oxygen from the lungs and is responsible to pump in to the remaining parts of the body, if for any reason the left side of the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently it can cause fatigue in the body and can lead to a life threatening condition.

Causes of left sided heart failure

The most common causes of left heart failure can be:

• Heart attack

• Severe blockages of the heart arteries

• High blood pressure

• Excessive alcohol consumption

• Leaking heart valves

• Hypothyroidism

• Heart muscle infections

Left heart failure is said to affect 3 in every 100 people, with the risk of developing a left heart failure increasing along with age. Left sided heart failure is also seen at times in children, however this may be caused due to underlying problems like birth defects, or severe viral infections.

Symptoms of left sided heart failure

Symptoms of left sided heart failure include:

• breathlessness

• palpitations

• irregular pulse

• bloody mucus while coughing

• Fatigue

• fluid retention

• Decreased urine

Left sided heart failure can be detected with during a physical examination by the doctor due

Diagnosis of Left sided heart failure

Diagnosis of left sided is done by a doctor by running the following tests

• Electrocardiogram to check for irregular heart rhythm

• Chest X-ray to confirm fluid in the lungs or abnormalities in the heart.

• Echocardiogram

• Blood tests

• Stress tests

• Angiography

Treatment of left sided heart failure

The treatment of left sided heart failure focuses on treating the underlying condition that has caused the left sided heart failure, reduce the symptoms of the condition and reduce the stress on the heart and ensuring that the condition does not escalate. Treatment of left sided heart failure could include heart surgery or heart catheterization to relieve blocked arteries, medication is provided to reduce fluid build up in the body (furosemide, spironolactone), medication to reduce stress on the heart ( beta blockers and ACE inhibitors) as well as medication to strengthen the muscles and reduce palpitation. In severe cases of left sided heart failure medication is given via an intravenous injection.

Treatment of left sided heart failure may also include application of a defibrillator or a pace maker. Research suggests that a pacemaker helps improve the condition of left sided heart failure significantly.

People who suffer from left sided heart failure would also include immediate changes to diet and a persons lifestyle including regular exercise. In severe cases of left sided heart failure treatment may also include a heart transplant, however this is only done in severe cases.

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