Heart pump medication, also called inotropic therapy, stimulates an injured or weakened heart to pump harder. The primary purpose of this drug is to increase the force of the heart muscle's contractions. It may also speed up the heart's rhythm.
Inotropic therapy is used in end-stage heart failure to help relieve and control heart failure symptoms so that you are better able to perform your daily activities. These medications are only used when other drugs no longer control heart failure symptoms.
The symptoms of heart failure can be related to the pooling of fluid in the body or can be secondary to decreased blood flow to the body. Some people with heart failure don't experience symptoms, but here are some of the more common signs:
Shortness of breath with exercise or difficulty breathing at rest or when lying down
Swollen legs, ankles, or abdomen
Dry, hacking cough, or wheezing
Other symptoms may include:
Fatigue, palpitations, or pain during normal activities
Heart pump drugs are sometimes given short term to patients awaiting a heart transplant. The risk of death rises if they are taken long term.
Heart pump medications include:
How Should I Take This Heart Pump Drugs?
Inotropic therapy is first administered in the hospital where you can be closely monitored.
Dobutamine and milrinone are IV medications administered by an infusion pump into your vein to help ensure the dose is accurate. These drugs may be ordered by your doctor to be given continuously or periodically over six to 72 hours, one or more times per week.
Even if you feel well, do not discontinue your inotropic therapy medication from your intravenous catheter line or from your infusion pump without consulting your doctor. If you are discharged from the hospital with an inotropic medication, a home health nurse will provide specific directions on how to care for your intravenous site, catheter and infusion pump.
What Are the Side Effects of Inotropic Therapy?
Notify your doctor or nurse right away the first time any of these side effects occur: