Human hearts are divided into two major parts: the right and left ventricles. In the history of research on heart function and failure, the left ventricle has received the majority of the attention while the right ventricle has been severely neglected, despite its reported functional abnormalities in an estimated 70 million people in the United States.
The right and left ventricles of our hearts work together as a pump for our bodies, but the right ventricle is different from the left ventricle in its anatomy and physiology. For example, the left ventricle wall is more muscular than the right ventricle wall, and the left ventricle can be described as a conical or bullet shape while the right ventricle is shaped like a crescent. These differences indicate that the understanding and treatment of conditions affecting the right ventricle require specific and distinct research on it.
However, a recent study of 510 hospitalized COVID-19 adult patients published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that irregularities in the shape and structure of the right ventricle could predict COVID-19 mortality.
Right ventricle enlargement, called dilation, and dysfunction, observed from clinical transthoracic echocardiography (a non-invasive imaging technique using ultrasound), were reported from 35% and 15% of patients studied, respectively. Both dilation and dysfunction were associated with increased mortality risk. Taken together, the study suggests that right ventricle remodeling is a possible predictor of COVID-19 hospitalization and death.