Cardiac Question #3


The nurse is caring for a hospitalized client with admitting diagnosis of right-sided heart failure (HF). What assessment finding is most consistent with the client’s diagnosis?


  1. Pulmonary edema
    • Rationale:
  2. Distended neck veins
    • Rationale:
  3. Dry hacking cough
    • Rationale:
  4. Orthopnea
    • Rationale:



Right-sided heart failure occurs as a result of inefficient pumping of the right side of the heart, causing fluid buildup in the abdomen, legs, and feet. Excessive fluid causes weight gain, distended neck veins, and swelling of the liver. Heart rate may be irregular and a common arrhythmia with HF is atrial fibrillation. Pulmonary edema, orthopnea, paroxymal nocturnal dyspnea, and exertional dyspnea are symptoms of left-sided heart failure. Dry hacking cough is not a symptom of right-sided heart failure.

Learning Outcomes

Test Taking Tip

Video Rationale