Enlarged heart and CF
Does the right ventricle of the heart become enlarged over time as the disease progresses? If so, is this dangerous? Does the heart return to normal after a lung transplant?
The right side of the heart can, in fact, be affected at a very advanced stage of lung disease such as cystic fibrosis. The drop in blood oxygen creates increased pressure in the pulmonary arteries due to blood vessel contraction. The high pressure impedes the right ventricle’s ability to pump blood from the peripheral venous system to the lungs. The effort exerted by the right ventricle weakens it and causes it to expand, allowing blood to accumulate in the peripheral venous system. This results in edema (swelling due to the retention of fluids), which is especially visible in the lower limbs.
The best way to avoid right heart insufficiency is to oxygenate the blood as much as possible with oxygen supplements administered through a nasal tube or a mask. If the right ventricle still becomes enlarged, the situation can be reversed following a successful lung transplant, and the heart will regain its original shape and strength.