REVIEW ARTICLE

Acute failure of the right ventricle
Part 1
Anatomy, physiology, functional evaluation and pathophysiology of the right ventricle

Acute right ventricular (RV) failure is a complex clinical syndrome that can be caused by many causes and accounts for 3% to 9% of admissions in intensive care units with in-hospital mortality of 5% to 17%. It can present in an overlapping or severe way with severe hemodynamic compromise and shock. The primary objective should be the identification and treatment of the underlying cause of RV insufficiency, such as acute pulmonary embolism, acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute decompensation of chronic pulmonary hypertension, RV infarction, or arrhythmias. The importance of RV function in heart failure, myocardial infarction, congenital heart disease and pulmonary hypertension has been recognized. Currently, advances in echocardiography and nuclear magnetic resonance have created new opportunities for the study of RV anatomy and physiology.
The present review offers a clinical perspective on the structure and function of the RV. In this first part, we will review the anatomy, physiology, evaluation and pathophysiology of the RV. In the second part, we will review the clinical importance and the management and treatment of RV failure.

Keywords: Heart failure; Right ventricular failure; Acute right ventricle failure; Right ventricle anatomy; Right ventricle physiology; Right ventricular pathophysiology; Right ventricle assessment