Diagnosis and treatment of right ventricular dysfunction in congenital heart disease

Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2020 Oct;10(5):1625-1645. doi: 10.21037/cdt-20-370.


Right ventricular (RV) function is important for clinical status and outcomes in children and adults with congenital heart disease (CHD). In the normal RV, longitudinal systolic function is the major contributor to global RV systolic function. A variety of factors contribute to RV failure including increased pressure- or volume-loading, electromechanical dyssynchrony, increased myocardial fibrosis, abnormal coronary perfusion, restricted filling capacity and adverse interactions between left ventricle (LV) and RV. We discuss the different imaging techniques both at rest and during exercise to define and detect RV failure. We identify the most important biomarkers for risk stratification in RV dysfunction, including abnormal NYHA class, decreased exercise capacity, low blood pressure, and increased levels of NTproBNP, troponin T, galectin-3 and growth differentiation factor 15. In adults with CHD (ACHD), fragmented QRS is independently associated with heart failure (HF) symptoms and impaired ventricular function. Furthermore, we discuss the different HF therapies in CHD but given the broad clinical spectrum of CHD, it is important to treat RV failure in a disease-specific manner and based on the specific alterations in hemodynamics. Here, we discuss how to detect and treat RV dysfunction in CHD in order to prevent or postpone RV failure.

Keywords: Congenital heart disease (CHD); heart failure (HF); right ventricular dysfunction; systemic right ventricular; treatment of heart failure.

Publication types

  • Review