The heart is a muscular organ, cone-shaped or triangular (was compared even with a pear), pointing down and to the left. It is located in the chest; it is supported to the diaphragm, in the middle mediastinum, a third of which is located to the right of the midline and two-thirds to the left midline. The heart has three faces: a face towards the skeleton chest, a face towards the diaphragm and a face towards the lungs; three edges: a straight edge, an edge toward anterior and an edge towards the posterior; a basis; a peak. The tip of the heart corresponds to the left ventricle, and is down, forwards and to the left oriented, and can be identified in the left intercostal space V on the medio-clavicular line.
Very rare, the heart is located to the right side of the sternum, due to a congenital anomaly (usually correlated with other inversions in the settlement of internal organs) or due to some diseases (pulmonary, pleural), which determines the movement of the heart more to the right. The location of the heart to the right of the sternum is called dextrocardia. When is associated with the location “in the mirror” (the opposite side) to other organs such as the liver or spleen a situation of this kind is called “situs inversus”. When only the heart is located on the right, the other organs are not affected; just that to these people the right lung is smaller compared to people who have heart facing left to the left lung is physiological smaller in size.
In individuals who have dextrocardia “in the mirror” may also appear the syndrome “cilia immobile” or Kartagener, which is specifically for people who are born with this condition as distinguished from other ciliary dyskinesia, is precisely associated with dextrocardia.
Most often, dextrocardia is associated with other heart defects, such as pulmonary stenosis or atresia, single ventricle, ventricular septal defect, transposition of great vessels.
A serious syndrome correlated to dextrocardia is heterotaxy, in which case abdominal organs are located in place and can thus cause a malfunction. The spleen can be placed on the left side or ca be absent, which may put (by affecting the immune system) that person’s life in danger. In rare cases, there may be several spline, small, but do not work optimally. May also occur, malformations of the gallbladder, lung problems, problems related to improper positioning of the intestines.
If the heart is not presenting changes, dextrocardia does not manifest symptoms, the person is leading a normal life and perhaps it was discovered by chance during a chest X-ray or cardiological or was forced to do an MRI or CT covering the chest area.
Among the symptoms that may occur in dextrocardia, associated with other heart defects , we include: cyanosis or pale skin, shortness of breath, repeated lung infections, repeated sinus infections, fatigue, does not grow in weight (in children).
A dextrocardia with heart defects and other organ problems do not require treatment. But if it is associated with heart defects and / or other organs, surgery will be indicated. A dextrocardia associated with Kartagener syndrome will require repeated treatment for sinus infections / lung. A dextrocardia with spleen problems will require treatment to support immunity.
Dextrocardia may be genetically transmitted, so if there is a family history in this regard, it is recommended to carry out more detailed checks for women wishing to become pregnant.