Right heart failure is the inability of the right ventricle to generate enough stroke volume for forward flow, resulting in venous congestion, under filling of the left ventricle and in the most advanced cases, cardiogenic shock. This acute and chronic condition can be caused by right ventricular infarction, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary embolism, left ventricular dysfunction or sepsis.
Vital signs may reveal hypotension and/or hypoxia
Increased heart rate in compensation bid for the fall in cardiac output
Distended jugular (neck) veins
Cyanosis (central and/or peripheral)
Swelling of ankles, lower legs and sacral area
Nodal or complete AV block as an infarction result
If severe failure, may also present with lethargy and/or dyspnoea