Eisenmenger Syndrome

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WHAT IS EISENMENGER SYNDROME? Eisenmenger syndrome or Eisenmenger complex can be defined as congenital cardiac defects that are untreated over a long period. Eisenmenger syndrome is characterized by a condition in which blood flow is from the heart to the lungs is affected due to the structure of the heart, hence, it is the abnormal circulation […] Read More

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Eisenmenger Syndrome

WHAT IS EISENMENGER SYNDROME? Eisenmenger syndrome or Eisenmenger complex can be defined as congenital cardiac defects that are untreated over a long period. Eisenmenger syndrome is characterized by a condition in which blood flow is from the heart to the lungs is affected due to the structure of the heart, hence, it is the abnormal circulation of blood in the body due to defects In the heart structure. The heart has four chambers, two on the right and left. The part of the heart on the right is responsible for moving blood into blood vessels that pass it to the lungs, where it is enriched with oxygen and then moved to the left side of the heart and passed through blood vessels there to another part of the body. During this circulation of blood, there are valves present in the heart that helps control the flow of blood into and out of the chambers of the heart and prevent the backward flow of blood from the chambers. When there is a hole between the main chambers of the heart and blood vessels, Eisenmenger syndrome may develop. Eisenmenger syndrome is a critical medical condition that can be life-threatening although, with proper treatment and close observation, its patients may live for a long time. COMPLICATIONS OF EISENMENGER SYMPTOMS Eisenmenger symptoms can lead to increased blood pressure especially on the side of the heart that has deoxygenated blood resulting in a reduced level of oxygen in the blood. This also results in the development of a blueish or grayish skin color known as “cyanosis” which could worsen over time.  Eisenmenger complex also leads to an increase in the number of red blood cells which is triggered by the reduction of oxygen in the body. Eisenmenger syndrome could result in:
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Heart failure.
  • Increase in pressure of your lungs (leading to bleeding into your lungs and airways), resulting in:
  • Coughing blood.
  • Stroke.
  • Kidney damage.
  • Infections of the heart, etc.
RISK FACTORS Since Eisenmenger syndrome is mainly congenital, a family history of congenital heart defects could increase the probability of developing a congenital heart defect which could lead to the Eisenmenger complex. DIAGNOSIS OF EISENMENGER When diagnosing Eisenmenger symptoms, your family medical history, and your personal history will be examined.
  • You will be physically examined with a stethoscope to ascertain your irregular heartbeat, and then your doctor may ask you to walk for six minutes and check your tolerance level for mild exercises.
  • You will be taken to the lab and your blood sample will be taken for testing. The blood test aims at checking the level of your red blood cells, your blood cells count, your kidney and liver function, your iron level, etc.
  • Cardiac catheterization may be carried out. This process involves the use of a thin flexible tube inserted into an artery in your groin and guided into your heart using x-ray imaging. 
  • This process aims at measuring the blood pressure in the heart chambers and blood vessels, the size of the hole, and the pressure and flows experienced across the defect.
  • Your doctor will recommend an electrocardiogram test- a test that records the electric activities of your heart by using rods attached to your skin- in other to diagnose the defect.
  • An echocardiogram will also be carried out to ascertain the diagnosis. An echocardiogram is a procedure that involves the use of sound waves to create images of the structures of the heart and the flow of blood through the heart.
Other types of scans that may be recommended by your doctor include the computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), etc. EISENMENGER TREATMENT The treatment of the Eisenmenger complex aims at managing the condition and symptoms as there is no cure yet for it.
  • Medications, which are aimed at controlling your heartbeat, and relaxing the blood vessel walls will be administered and a healthy lifestyle will be recommended to help ease symptoms.
  • Surgery is not recommended once the Eisenmenger complex has developed because it can lead to a lot of life-threatening complications.
  • You will be given a regular appointment and closely observed by a cardiologist. You will also be given blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, warfarin, etc. Avoid over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.
  • Antibiotics and other supplements such as an iron will also be given to you.
  • Your blood sample may be withdrawn in the case of increased red blood cell count to help decrease it. This is known as phlebotomy. This is only done by the recommendation of your cardiologist
EISENMENGER HOME REMEDIES AND LIFESTYLE Certain lifestyles could help when you are diagnosed with Eisenmenger and they include:
  • Avoiding dehydration by taking water more often.
  • Mild and less strenuous exercises can help.
  • You will have to avoid high altitudes and check with your cardiologist before making any travels by flight.
  • Avoid smoking and too much alcohol.
  • Speak with your loved ones about how you feel emotionally and reach out to support groups.
CONCLUSION Eisenmenger syndrome is a rare condition that can be treated successfully during its early stages. Its main causative feature is a series of openings in the heart muscle, which could eventually lead to the wasting of blood, resulting in its patients coughing out blood frequently (though this might be likened to tuberculosis and needs to be carefully diagnosed).  Whenever holes in the heart show up in your diagnosis by the doctor, Eisenmenger syndrome is always among the list of possible health conditions associated with the symptoms and would need to be more carefully diagnosed along the line, to determine the real health condition in play.  However, do not lose hope and confidence. Put on a smiling face always, because that can be the best treatment you can give yourself since doctors cannot force a smile on your face.



The symptoms of Eisenmenger includes:

  • The skin becomes bluish or grayish.
  • Large and rounded fingernails or toenails.
  • Easily fatigued and very tired.
  • Shortness of breath even while resting.
  • Tightness at the chest or chest pain.
  • Pacing heartbeats.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • The feeling of numbness or a tingling sensation in fingers or toes.
  • Headaches.



Most cases of Eisenmenger results from the presence of holes between the two pumping chambers of the heart which are the right and left ventricles. 

The hole causes blood that already has oxygen to pass back to the lungs instead of another part of the body resulting in the blood pressure of the lungs becoming stiff and narrow and increasing the lung arterial pressure which could damage the blood vessels of the lungs.

Eisenmenger complex may develop when:

  • There is a hole in the center of the heart between the atria which is the upper chamber and the ventricles which is the lower chamber, hence affecting some valves of the heart.
  • Presence of an opening between the pulmonary artery that is responsible for the carriage of deoxygenated blood to the lungs and the aorta which is responsible for carrying oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.
  • Presence of an opening in the wall of tissues that separate the right and left side of the heart that is responsible for pumping blood.


Can you live Eisenmenger Syndrome?

Yes, you can live with Eisenmenger syndrome with a long life expectancy, sometimes lasting up to age 65 and above, though this is based upon the severity of the congenital heart defects and other major health conditions associated with the syndrome.

Is Eisenmenger Syndrome rare?

Rare; Eisenmenger syndrome seems to be rare. Both its causes and symptoms are rare. Openings in the heart muscle do not usually occur in the human body, and there are barely any medical conditions in which the skin becomes a bluish or grayish color.

Who discovered Eisenmenger Syndrome?

Dr. Victor Eisenmenger first discovered Eisenmenger syndrome in 1897, in a patient suffering from a combination of dyspnea, cyanosis, heart failure, and massive hemoptysis, as an autopsy revealed an overriding aorta. The syndrome itself was named after Victor by Dr. Paul Wood.

Is Eisenmenger Syndrome reversible?

Eisenmenger syndrome can be reversed when discovered or diagnosed and treated early. However, when the symptoms of this disease get worse and lead subsequently to serious complications, it might turn out to be irreversible.

What is Eisenmenger’s complex?

Eisenmenger’s complex is also known as Eisenmenger Syndrome. It is a health condition that develops when there is a hole between the main chambers of the heart and blo