How is Heart Failure Managed?

How is Heart Failure Managed?

Heart failure treatments can help people with heart failure live longer, feel better, and avoid being admitted to hospital. Different treatments and approaches to managing heart failure work in combination, and require participation from patients, caregivers, and the health care team.

Typically, a combination of lifestyle changes and medications is required. Surgical procedures may also be considered as part of the treatment plan. 

A healthy lifestyle is essential. For someone with heart failure, this means paying extra attention to diet, getting regular exercise, avoiding alcohol, and taking care of your mental well-being. These behaviours can help with symptoms and have a positive influence on your heart condition.

Depending on the severity, the cause, and the type of heart failure at the time of diagnosis, medications are typically prescribed and adjusted over many follow-up visits. 

Heart failure medications work in different ways. They may strengthen the heart’s pumping function, reduce the amount of work that the heart has to do or help manage symptoms.

Surgical procedures may be necessary to implant a device or help the heart function better in people with heart failure. 

Devices such as a defibrillator or a pacemaker help correct harmful heart rhythms or lack of synchronicity of heart rhythm in the right and left sides of the heart. 

An artificial heart pump called a left ventricular assist device or LVAD may be needed for someone with advanced heart failure. In end-stage heart failure, transplantation of a new heart may be necessary. 

It is often difficulty to predict how an individual responds to different heart failure therapies. Some patients improve dramatically, others remain stable over time, and some can progress more rapidly with worsening heart failure.

Treatments are recommended by the care team based upon a number of clinical factors and in partnership with the patient.