What causes dextrocardia? and Does dextrocardia need surgery?

Overview of dextrocardia

Dextrocardia is a rare heart condition in which your heart points toward the right side of your chest instead of the left side. This is congenital, which means people are born with this abnormality. Less than 1 per cent of the general population is born with dextrocardia.

If you have isolated dextrocardia, your heart is located on the right side of your chest, but it has no other defects. Dextrocardia can also occur in a condition called situs inversus. With it, many or all of your visceral organs are on the mirror-image side of your body. For example, in addition to your heart, your liver, spleen, or other organs may also be located on the opposite, or “wrong” side of your body.

If you have dextrocardia, you may have other heart, organ, or digestive defects related to your anatomy. Surgery can sometimes correct these problems.

Symptoms of dextrocardia

Isolated dextrocardia usually does not cause any symptoms. This condition is usually diagnosed when an X-ray of your chest or an MRI shows the location of your heart on the right side of your chest.

Some people with isolated dextrocardia have an increased risk of lung infections, sinus infections, or pneumonia. With isolated dextrocardia, the cilia in your lungs may not function normally. Cilia are very fine hairs that filter the air you breathe. When the cilia are unable to filter out all viruses and germs, you may get sick more often.

It can cause a variety of symptoms that affect the function of your heart. These include shortness of breath, blue lips and skin, and fatigue. Children with dextrocardia may not grow or develop properly, so heart surgery may be necessary to correct the defect.

The lack of oxygen in your heart makes it tired and it usually stops growing. Abnormalities that affect your liver can cause jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin and eyes.

A baby with dextrocardia may also have holes in the septum of the heart. The septum is divided into the left and right chambers of the heart. Septum defects can cause problems with the baby’s heart and the way blood flows out. It usually produces a heart murmur.

Babies with dextrocardia may also have been born without a spleen. The spleen is a major part of the immune system. Without a spleen, your baby has a higher risk of developing infections throughout the body.

Causes of dextrocardia

The cause of dextrocardia is unknown. While consultation with cardiologist doctors do know that it occurs during fetal development. The heart’s anatomy may have many variations. For example, in isolated dextrocardia, your heart’s completely intact but faces the right side instead of the left. In other forms of dextrocardia, you may have defects in the heart’s chambers or valves.

Sometimes, your heart develops pointing the wrong way because other anatomical problems exist. Defects in your lungs, abdomen, or chest can cause your heart to develop so that it’s shifted towards the right side of your body. In this case, you’re more likely to have other heart defects and problems with other vital organs. Multi-organ defects are known as heterotaxy syndrome.

Dextrocardia diagnosis

Most cases are diagnosed by an electrocardiogram (EKG) and a chest X-ray. ECG showing transverse or transverse electric waves generally refers to this disease.

Once a suspects, they may use a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to diagnose the condition.

This can be diagnosed using scanning and imaging technology, such as computed tomography. This may or may not be related to other conditions.

Critical conditions include:

Kartagener syndrome

Kartagener syndrome is when dextrocardia situs inversus is accompanied by primary ciliary dyskinesia, an inherited condition where the cilia that help move mucus become immobile. Roughly 20 per cent of those with dextrocardia also have Kartagener syndrome.


Dextroversion occurs when the heart is abnormally positioned to the right and turned to the right. The right ventricle generally moves back to the left, but the left ventricle remains to the left. This problem can be diagnosed using an electrocardiograph (ECG).

Transposition of the great vessels (TGA)

TGA occurs when the major vessels of the heart are connected in reverse due to the reversal of the heart chambers. This condition is pretty rare.


This disease must be treats if it prevents vital organs from working properly. Surgery to correct pacemakers and septal defects can help the heart work normally.

You may have more infections than the average person. Medicines reduce your risk of infection. If you don’t have a spleen or it doesn’t work properly, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. You may need to take long-term antibiotics to fight respiratory illnesses.

Obstacles in your digestive system are more likely if your heart is pointing to the right. Dextrocardia can sometimes cause a condition called intestinal malrotation, in which your intestine does not develop properly. This is why your doctor will look for an abdominal obstruction, also known as bowel or bowel obstruction. A barrier prevents waste from leaving your body.

Bowel obstruction is dangerous and, if left untreated, can be fatal. You may need surgery to correct any obstruction.

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