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Treatment of heart failure focuses on correcting the underlying pathology that is causing the syndrome and improving the efficiency of the heart in pumping blood around the body. Treatment includes:
Addressing any reversible causes of heart failure such as anemia, infection, excessive alcohol abuse, vitamin deficiency, overactive thyroid, high blood pressure and arrhythmia. Treating each of these individual factors reduces the heart's workload.
Lifestyle modifications may be made to help reduce and prevent the worsening of symptoms. Some of these include:
If the onset of heart failure is sudden or acute, the immediate aim of therapy is to increase oxygen perfusion to various important organs such as the brain and kidneys. Medical staff ensure the patient is breathing and that blood is circulating. Therapies that may be immediately administered include furosemide, dilators such as nitroglycerin and sometimes non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV).
In the case of long-term or chronic heart failure, treatment is aimed at preventing secondary acute attacks of heart failure and reducing symptoms. Examples of drugs that may be used include oral diuretics, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, aldosterone receptor antagonists, beta-blockers and blood vessel dilators. A cardiac defibrillator may be needed in severe cases.
Some of the medications used for heart failure include:
Devices used in heart failure include:
In the advanced stages of heart failure, surgery or transplantation may be required. Heart valve surgery can correct some types of heart failure and other types may require coronary bypass surgery.