What Is Left-sided Heart Failure
The left side of the heart, with the left atrium and left ventricle, is responsible for moving oxygen-rich blood out of the heart and into the rest of the body.
Left-sided heart failure is the most common type of heart failure and happens when the left ventricle isn’t moving enough blood out to the body. If the left ventricle is having trouble filling with blood between beats, it’s called diastolic heart failure. When the left ventricle can’t pump blood out as well as it should, it’s called systolic heart failure.
Like other forms of heart failure, left-sided heart failure can progress through four stages. The stages range from no symptoms and no heart damage, but requiring lifestyle adjustments and possibly medication, through advanced heart failure that may require the most sophisticated treatment options such as an implanted left ventricular assist device and heart transplant.
At the Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Advanced Heart Failure & Recovery Program, our goal is to slow the progress of heart failure so you can resume living your life. Our specialists will work with you to tailor a treatment plan that’s customized to your condition and your goals.
More patients with left-sided heart failure and other heart conditions entrust their care to Norton Heart & Vascular Institute than any other provider in the Louisville and Southern Indiana area. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiologists and other specialists in the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program are at the leading edge of sophisticated treatments.
Left- Vs. Right-sided Heart Failure
Right-sided heart failure is less common and is usually the result of left-sided heart failure. The right side of your heart pumps blood returning from your body through the lungs where it is replenished with oxygen.
If the left side of your heart isn’t effectively moving blood along, it makes the right side work harder as blood and other fluids back up into your lungs and other organs.
Left-sided Heart Failure Symptoms
The symptoms of left-sided heart failure are the generally the same for heart failure broadly and include:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing when lying down
- Weight gain with swelling in the feet, legs, ankles
- Fluid collection in the abdomen
- Fatigue or a general feeling of weakness
Left-sided Heart Failure Treatment
Treatment depends on the severity of your heart failure and whether the condition is diastolic or systolic.
The experienced specialists at the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program have the expertise and leading-edge treatments to control left-sided heart failure and slow progress of the disease.
We work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that fits your condition and goals.
We start by working with you on dietary changes and other lifestyle adjustments such as physical activity, stress reduction, and reducing use of alcohol and other drugs. We often have success with lifestyle changes in conjunction with medication.
Our full-time nurse navigator meets with patients to provide details of their condition, answer any questions and review dietary, physical therapy and other changes to slow the progress of left-sided heart failure.
The Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program’s full-time social worker helps patients with insurance, housing and other needs. Free heart failure education workshops are designed to provide tools, resources and a more in-depth education on how to live fully with heart failure.
More severe left-sided heart failure patients may need implanted devices such as a pacemaker or a cardioverter-defibrillator (either implanted or wearable) to help control abnormal heart rhythms such as arrhythmia. Your Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program provider may use a sophisticated remote device to monitor your blood flow or amount of water retention daily for subtle changes that can signal a worsening condition.
Targeting the cause of your left-sided heart failure may involve minimally invasive procedures such as ablations that carefully destroy small parts of diseased heart to restore blood flow or interrupt abnormal heart rhythms.
If your left-sided heart failure is complicated by thickened muscle between the two ventricles, surgery may be needed to remove part of the muscle to improve blood flow through the heart.
Our surgeons have experience and sophisticated training with ventricular assist devices if necessary as either a long-term solution or a short-term bridge to a heart transplant.
The Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program offers a new approach to the management of heart failure using the latest in treatment options and monitoring technology. Our goal is to avoid putting you in the hospital. When you need care, we’ll try to get you home the same day.