Heart & Blood Condition

Expert reports about Heart & Blood Condition


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE HEART FAILURE DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

                                                                                                                                                

What is heart failure during pregnancy?

The term heart failure refers to situations in which the heart cannot circulate enough blood to meet the needs of the body. Not enough blood moves quickly enough to where it needs to go, and there is a backup of fluid upstream from the part of the heart that is failing. Usually, heart failure involves the left ventricle (left ventricular failure, left heart failure), and soon after that also the right ventricle (right ventricular failure, right heart failure). This is because dysfunction of the left ventricle causes fluid to accumulate in the lungs (congestive heart failure), thus increasing the pressure against which the right ventricle must pump, so pressure and fluid build-up in the right ventricle, which enlarges and weakens. Known as cor pulmonale, this situation that leads to right heart failure also can occur if there is a problem in the lungs, not due to a problem in the left ventricle. Consequently, right heart failure can occur without left heart failure, whereas left heart failure quickly becomes failure of both ventricles. Whatever the cause of right heart failure, blood backs up in the body’s veins, which causes swelling (known as edema) that is most obvious in the legs, ankles, and abdomen.


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