How Is Heart Failure Treated
Your treatment will depend on the type of heart failure you have and, in part, what caused it. Medications and lifestyle behaviors are part of every treatment plan. Your healthcare provider will talk to you about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment is the same, regardless of gender.
As heart failure gets worse, your heart muscle pumps less blood to your organs, and you move toward the next stage of heart failure. Since you cant move backward through the heart failure stages, the goal of treatment is to keep you from moving forward through the stages or to slow down the progression of your heart failure.
Stage A treatment
The usual treatment plan for people with Stage A heart failure includes:
- Regular exercise, being active, walking every day.
- Stopping the use of tobacco products.
- Treatment for high blood pressure .
- Treatment for high cholesterol.
- Not drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or an angiotensin II receptor blocker if you have coronary artery disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or other vascular or cardiac conditions.
- Beta-blocker if you have high blood pressure.
Stage B treatment
The usual treatment plan for people with Stage B heart failure includes:
Stage C treatment
The usual treatment plan for people with Stage C HF-rEF includes:
If the treatment causes your symptoms to get better or stop, you still need to continue treatment to slow the progression to Stage D.
Stage D treatment
Types Of Congestive Heart Failure
In systolic heart failure, the left ventricle becomes thin and weak and is unable to push an adequate amount of oxygen-rich blood into the arteries. Its also known as heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.
In diastolic heart failure, the ventricles become thick and stick, due to which the heart can relax and let an adequate amount of blood fill the chambers. Its also known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.
Congestive heart failure can also be categorized into two types depending on the side of the heart thats affected. This includes left-sided heart failure and right-sided heart failure.
Cardiac Rehabilitation And Physical Activity
Attending a cardiac rehabilitation program is one of the best things you can do for heart failure. Many people can benefit from cardiac rehabilitation – it can improve your quality of life, keep you out of hospital and have a positive impact on your mental health and wellbeing.
Cardiac rehabilitation combines exercise and education sessions to help you make healthy changes. This includes exercise to help increase your strength, fitness and confidence levels. Exercise includes activities that make you slightly out of breath, while still being able to hold a conversation. For example, walking or riding a stationary bike. It might also include exercises that use light weights or other equipment. Youll get a tailored exercise program to suit you and you will be able to go at your own pace. Many cardiac rehabilitation service now offer home-based services via telephone and/or over the internet.
Visit the Heart Foundations cardiac services directory to find a cardiac rehabilitation program near you.
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How Heart Failure Is Diagnosed
A diagnosis of heart failure or CHF is made by a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart-related conditions, called a cardiologist. Your cardiologist will take a complete medical history, conduct a physical exam, and may order a variety of tests, including blood work and imaging tests.
The following tests and scans may be performed to help diagnose heart failure:
- Natriuretic peptide tests: Measures levels of B-type natriuretic peptide or N-terminal prohormone of B-type natriuretic peptide , which are released into the blood by the heart
- Echocardiogram: Determines the percent of blood that is pumped out of the heart with each heartbeat and evaluates the structure and function of the heart
- Electrocardiogram : Provides a tracing of the hearts electrical activity
- Stress test: Measures how the heart responds to exercise or chemically induced stress in a controlled environment
- Cardiac catheterization:Shows the interior of the arteries in your heart to see if they are blocked and allows for measurement of right and left heart pressures
- Other imaging tests such as cardiac computed tomography scan, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging , or nuclear heart scan can be used to show how well the heart is working.
What Is Congestive Heart Failure And How Is It Treated
Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure , is a disease state that covers any reason why the heart is not pumping blood efficiently. Chronic heart failure is a chronic condition that gets worse with time. The heart pumps blood throughout the body to meet the bodys demand for blood and oxygen. During heart failure, the heart cannot pump as much blood throughout the body and tries to compensate for less blood by beating faster, enlarging, and withholding blood from less vital organs. When the bodys cells dont receive enough blood, everyday activities can suddenly become very challenging and can result in extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, or coughing.
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Im Concerned About My Health
You should dial 999 if you have possible heart attack symptoms or severe difficulty breathing, such as gasping for breath, choking, lips turning blue, or not being able to get words out.
If you feel like youre struggling to manage your condition at home, contact your doctor or NHS 111.
Dont delay because you think hospitals are too busy the NHS has systems in place to treat people who need urgent heart treatment. If you delay, you’re more likely to suffer serious heart damage, intensive care and spend longer in hospital.
Outlook For Heart Failure
Heart failure is a serious long-term condition that will usually continue to get slowly worse over time.
It can severely limit the activities you’re able to do and is often eventually fatal.
But it’s very difficult to tell how the condition will progress on an individual basis.
It’s very unpredictable. Lots of people remain stable for many years, while in some cases it may get worse quickly.
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What Types Of Congestive Heart Failure Are There
Your heart consists of four chambers, with the upper two being the left and right atria, and the lower two being the left and right ventricles. The atria receive blood as it enters the heart so that the ventricles can then pump it through the bodys circulatory system and supply blood to the bodys tissues and organs.
There are two main types of CHF, with the most common being left-sided CHF and the other being right-sided CHF.
Left-sided CHF occurs when the left ventricle cant pump enough blood. This results in the lungs filling with fluid, causing breathing to become difficult.
This may be due to either:
- Systolic failureSystolic failure occurs when the left ventricle cant contract normally, which prevents it from moving enough blood through the circulatory system.
- Diastolic failureWith diastolic failure, the muscles of the left ventricle become rigid. This prevents the chamber from refilling with enough blood to then be pumped through the circulatory system.
With right-sided CHF, the right ventricle is unable to pump enough blood to the lungs which can result in blood accumulating in the bodys vessels. This causes fluid buildup in the lower extremities, abdomen and other vital organs.
While it is possible to have both right-sided and left-sided CHF at the same time, the disease typically starts on the left and moves to the right as it progressively worsens. This is why early detection and treatment are critical.
Heart Helpline & Other Support:
- speak to our cardiac nurses by phone, callback, email or online chat on Heart Helpline
- contact us to talk to our customer care advisors, find your local BHF shop and for any comments, compliments and complaints you may have
- sign up to our Heart Matters magazine for online information packed with health and lifestyle advice
- visit the Pumping Marvellous website, for heart failure patients
- get support if you are caring for someone with heart failure.
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What Is Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive Heart Failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart gradually weakens to the point it cant pump enough blood to meet the bodys needs. This leads to a buildup of fluids in the lungs, liver and lower body known as fluid congestion, and is why doctors refer to the disease as congestive heart failure.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death both in the US and Nevada, and accounts for up to 27% of all deaths in Nevada. Stroke, which CHF can directly affect, is the third leading cause of death in the US and accounts for up to 5% of all deaths in Nevada. Combined, heart disease and stroke account for nearly 1-in-3 deaths in the state of Nevada.
Cardiovascular Research & Training Institute
At the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute , researchers are interested in how cardiac muscle biology relates to the mechanistic basis of heart failure. The CVRTI is committed to focusing on learning what drives heart muscle failure and how best to treat it. Researchers are working on changing the standard of care for HF patients through drug therapy, gene therapy and therapeutic devices. Specifically, CVRTI investigators are trying to understand how the failing heart can recover in order to improve outcomes for HF patients. Our investigators are focused on identifying cellular and molecular targets to develop new therapeutic tools for myocardial recovery. They also evaluate myocardial ultrastructure, microstructure, and function in normal, diseased, and aged hearts. Preserving and optimizing the cellular cytoskeleton and the mitochondrial function in the failing heart are major research interests of our investigators. With these research programs in place, the CVRTI is committed to improve how acute and chronic heart failure patients are diagnosed and treated.
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Diagnosis Of Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs
While a cage-side echocardiogram can provide support for a diagnosis of CHF if needed, the stress of a full echocardiogram could further decompensate the patient without providing additional information.
Thoracic radiographs often confirm the diagnosis of left-sided CHF but should be postponed if the patient is unstable . Radiographic cardiomegaly can be documented, and the presence of an interstitial/alveolar pattern centered on the perihilar region, consistent with pulmonary edema, confirms the diagnosis of CHF. While dilated pulmonary veins can be suggestive of left heart failure, in acute cases, it is not uncommon for these to be normal in size.
FIGURE 1. Lateral and dorsoventral thoracic radiographs of an 8-year-old Doberman pinscher with DCM in CHF. Note the cardiomegaly with a straightened caudal border, prominent left atrium, and tracheal elevation. There is a diffuse alveolar/interstitial pattern in the lung fields with air bronchograms and dilated pulmonary veins.
The clinical signs and history can also help in increasing the clinical suspicion of CHF. Sympathetic stimulation associated with heart failure should cause tachycardia, while cough and crackles are nonspecific signs.
Congestive Heart Failure Drugs
There are several medications that can be used to treat CHF, including ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and more.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors open up narrowed blood vessels to improve blood flow. Vasodilators are another option if you cant tolerate ACE inhibitors.
You may be prescribed one of the following:
voluntary recall of 5 lots of the drug Accupril due to the presence of nitrosamine. Nitrosamine, a known carcinogen with the potential to cause cancer, was found to exist in the drug at levels greater than the Acceptable Daily Intake as determined by the FDA. This recall is specific only to a handful of lot numbers and does not affect all Accupril tablets made by Pfizer. If you take Accupril tablets, talk with your pharmacist or doctor and they will help you determine if your medication has been impacted by the recall.
ACE inhibitors shouldnt be taken with the following medications without consulting a doctor, because they may cause an adverse reaction:
- Potassium-sparing diuretics and potassium supplements. These diuretics can cause potassium buildup in the blood, which may lead to abnormal heart rhythms. Examples include: riamterene , eplerenone , and spironolactone .
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen, can cause sodium and water retention. This may reduce the ACE inhibitors effect on your blood pressure.
This may be achieved with:
Your doctor may recommend:
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What Is Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest results from electrical disturbances that cause the heart to suddenly stop beating properly.
In cardiac arrest, death can result quickly if steps arent taken immediately. Cardiac arrest may be reversed if CPR is performed and a defibrillator shocks the heart and restores a normal heart rhythm within a few minutes, according to the American Heart Association.
More than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside a hospital in the United States each year, the AHA said.
A sudden, unexpected loss of heart function also results in a sudden loss of breathing and consciousness.
Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, although almost any known heart condition, including heart attack, can cause cardiac arrest.
Another emergency that can lead to cardiac arrest, commotio cordis, is a disruption of heart rhythm after a blow to the area directly over the heart at a key time during a heartbeat cycle.
Its rare, but it mostly occurs in boys and young men during sports. The American Heart Association says its the leading cause of deaths in youth baseball in the United States, typically two to three per year. Automated external defibrillators have helped increase the survival rate.
How Can I Prevent Heart Failure
You can prevent heart failure by preventing coronary heart disease and heart attack. The best way to do this is to reduce or eliminate the risk factors that lead to heart failure. You could:
If you have had a heart attack, its even more important to manage your risk factors and follow your treatment plan. Make sure you check in frequently with your healthcare team.
Some risk factors such as your age, whether you have other health conditions, or your genes may be outside your control. Speak with your doctor if you have concerns about developing heart failure, and how you can manage it.
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Mood And Heart Failure
Some people find it very difficult to live with the uncertainty of having heart failure. Learning about your condition and getting involved in making decisions about your treatment will help you feel more in control and may help to relieve anxiety. Its also important to discuss your worries with your family and close friends and your heart failure team so they can support you.
Stress affects different people in different ways. People who dont manage their stress well may turn to unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or snacking on unhealthy foods.
Knowing what triggers the stress can help you to tackle the problem. Finding healthy ways of coping with stress and learning to relax can help you manage your heart failure. Read more about coping with stress.
Other Causes Of Heart Failure Include:
- abnormal heart rhythms where your heart beats too fast, too slow or irregularly
- amyloidosis – a build-up of abnormal proteins in organs such as your heart and tissues. When it affects the heart it’s called cardiac amyloidosis – stiff heart syndrome – and can lead to heart failure
- anaemia a lack of red blood cells carrying oxygen in your blood
- congenital heart conditions different heart problems that youre born with
- endocarditis – a viral infection affecting the heart muscle
- heart valve disease – where blood struggles to flow through the heart properly, putting extra strain on the muscle
- pulmonary hypertension – raised blood pressure in the blood vessels that supply your lungs. This condition can damage the right side of your heart, leading to heart failure. Find out more about pulmonary hypertension on NHS Choices and PHA UK
- some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy
- thyroid gland disease an underactive or overactive thyroid gland which produces too few or too many hormones
- too much alcohol .
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How Long Can Dogs Live With Congestive Heart Failure
In general, dogs that are diagnosed with congestive heart failure can live anywhere from 6 months to 1 1/2 to 2 years. Other factors that affect how long a dog can live with CHF include:
- The age of the dog
- The severity of their condition
- Any medications the dog is taking
- How responsive the dog is to treatment
- Any underlying medical conditions, such as kidney disease or pneumonia
There is no cure for heart failure in dogs, Dr. Klein says. Early detection and proper management are crucial to improving a dogs prognosis and quality of life.
Articles On Heart Failure Types & Stages
Congestive heart failure doesn’t mean your heart has stopped. It means it’s not pumping blood the way it should. When that happens, blood and fluid can back up in your body and make it harder for your kidneys to flush out sodium and water. That can make you hold on to too much fluid, which causes swelling.
There’s no cure. But your doctor may give you medication to do things like lower your blood pressure, relax your blood vessels, make your heart beat stronger, or ease swelling. And diet and lifestyle changes — like not smoking — can help, too.
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