Treatments for Heart failure
Treatment list for Heart failure: The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Heart failure includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.
- Heart transplant
- Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs)
- Surgical correction of heart valve defect - if this is the underlying cause.
- Cardiomyoplasty - a research effort using a back muscle transplanted near the heart.
- Hospitalization - for acute cases
- Emergency treatment
- Treatment of any underlying cause of heart failure
Treatment of Heart failure: medical news summaries: The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Heart failure:
- FDA approves new pulmonary arterial hypertension drug
- Heart failure sufferers improve dramatically with stem cell therapy
- Researchers to test Viagra’s effectiveness in treating enlarged hearts
Treatments of Heart failure discussion: Heart failure caused by an excessive workload is curable by treating the primary disease, such as anemia or thyrotoxicosis. Also curable are forms caused by anatomical problems, such as a heart valve defect. These defects can be surgically corrected.
However, for the common forms of heart failure--those due to damaged heart muscle--no known cure exists. But treatment for these forms may be quite successful. The treatment seeks to improve patients' quality of life and length of survival through lifestyle change and drug therapy.
Patients can minimize the effects of heart failure by controlling the risk factors for heart disease. Obvious steps include quitting smoking, losing weight if necessary, abstaining from alcohol, and making dietary changes to reduce the amount of salt and fat consumed. Regular, modest exercise is also helpful for many patients, though the amount and intensity should be carefully monitored by a physician.
But, even with lifestyle changes, most heart failure patients must take medication. Many patients receive two or more drugs.
Several types of drugs have proven useful in the treatment of heart failure:
- Diuretics help reduce the amount of fluid in the body and are useful for
patients with fluid retention and hypertension.
- Digitalis increases the force of the heart's contractions, helping to
- Results of recent studies have placed more emphasis on the use of drugs known as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Several large studies have indicated that ACE inhibitors improve survival among heart failure patients and may slow, or perhaps even prevent, the loss of heart pumping activity.
Patients who cannot take ACE inhibitors may get a nitrate and/or a drug called hydralazine, each of which helps relax tension in blood vessels to improve blood flow.
Sometimes, heart failure is life-threatening. Usually, this happens when drug therapy and lifestyle changes fail to control its symptoms. In such cases, a heart transplant may be the only treatment option. However, candidates for transplantation often have to wait months or even years before a suitable donor heart is found. Recent studies indicate that some transplant candidates improve during this waiting period through drug treatment and other therapy, and can be removed from the transplant list.
Transplant candidates who do not improve sometimes need mechanical pumps, which are attached to the heart. Called left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), the machines take over part or virtually all of the heart's blood-pumping activity. However, current LVADs are not permanent solutions for heart failure but are considered bridges to transplantation.
An experimental surgical procedure for severe heart failure is available at a few U.S. medical centers. The procedure, called cardiomyoplasty, involves detaching one end of a muscle in the back, wrapping it around the heart, and then suturing the muscle to the heart. An implanted electric stimulator causes the back muscle to contract, pumping blood from the heart.
Common Heart Failure MedicationsListed below are some of the medications prescribed for heart failure. Not all medications are suitable for all patients, and more than one drug may be needed.
Also, the list provides the full range of possible side effects for these drugs. Not all patients will develop these side effects. If you suspect that you are having a side effect, alert your physician.
To improve the chances of surviving with heart failure, patients must take care of themselves.
- See their physician regularly;
- Closely follow all of their physician's instructions;
- Take any medication according to instructions; and
- Immediately inform their physician of any significant change in their condition, such as an intensified shortness of breath or swollen feet.
- Control their weight;
- Watch what they eat;
- Not smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products; and
- Abstain from or strictly limit alcohol consumption.
1. excerpt from NHLBI, Heart Failure: NHLBI
Last revision: May 29, 2003
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