Get answers to your Heart Failure questions.
CHF; Congestive heart failure; Left-sided heart failure; Right-sided heart failure - Cor pulmonale; Cardiomyopathy - heart failure
MONITORING AND SELF CARE
If you have heart failure, your doctor will monitor you closely. You will have follow-up appointments at least every 3 to 6 months and tests to check your heart function.
Knowing your body and the symptoms that your heart failure is getting worse will help you stay healthier and out of the hospital. At home, watch for changes in your heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, and weight. See: Home monitoring
Weight gain, especially over a day or two, can be a sign that your body is holding onto extra fluid and your heart failure is getting worse. Talk to your doctor about what you should do if your weight goes up or if you develop more symptoms.
Other important changes to make in your lifestyle:
MEDICATIONS, SURGERY, AND DEVICES
Your doctor will ask you to take medicines to treat your heart failure. Medicines treat the symptoms, prevent your heart failure from getting worse, and help you live longer.
It is very important that you take your medicine as your doctor and nurse directed. Do not take any other drugs or herbs without first asking your doctor or nurse about them. These include:
The following surgeries and devices may be recommended for certain patients with heart failure:
END-STAGE HEART FAILURE
Severe heart failure occurs when treatments no longer work. Certain treatments may be used when a person is waiting for a heart transplant:
At a certain point, the health care provider will decide whether it is best to keep treating heart failure. The patient, along with his or her family and doctors, may want to discuss the option of palliative or comfort care at this time.
Often, you can control heart failure by taking medicine, changing your lifestyle, and treating the condition that caused it.
Heart failure can suddenly get worse due to:
Heart failure is usually a chronic illness, which may get worse over time. Some people develop severe heart failure, in which medicines, other treatments, and surgery no longer help. Many people are at risk for deadly heart rhythms.
Call your health care provider if you develop:
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you experience:
Emanuel LL, Bonow RO. Care of patients with end-stage heart disease. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 34.
Mann DL. Management of heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 28.
Jessup M, Abraham WT, Casey DE, Feldman AM, Francis GS, Ganiats TG, et al. 2009 focused update: ACCF/AHA Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Heart Failure in Adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines: developed in collaboration with the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Circulation. 2009 Apr 14;119(14):1977-2016. Epub 2009 Mar 26.
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