October 28 2010 (Thursday) - Eisenmenger's Syndrome

Yesterday I was lecturing on the subject of anaemia, and mentioned that when considering anaemia, one shouldn’t overlook other problems causing a reduced oxygen supply to the tissues – a low haemoglobin level isn’t the only cause of such a problem.

Today I learned about Eisenmenger's syndrome. A congenital heart deformity in which there is a hole between the left and right ventricles of the heart (ventricular septal defect). The hole allows blood that has already picked up oxygen from the lungs to flow back into the lungs, instead of going out to the rest of the body. The increased blood flow and high pressure generated by the (effectively) single ventricular chamber damages the small blood vessels in the lungs.
And because of the ventricular blood mixing, the blood getting to the tissues isn’t as oxygenated as it might be, which leads to the breathlessness and fatigue which one may associate with an anaemia.

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