Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) uses a biventricular pacemaker, which makes the heart's lower chambers (ventricles) pump together. This can help your heart pump blood better. This type of pacemaker can help you feel better so you can be more active. It also can help keep you out of the hospital and help you live longer.
If you get a pacemaker, you have to be careful not to get too close to some devices with strong magnetic or electrical fields. These include MRI machines, battery-powered cordless power tools, and CB or ham radios. But most everyday appliances are safe.
A pacemaker may be used alone or along with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) for heart failure.
One Woman's Story:
Getting a pacemaker has "made all the difference in the world. I could work in my yard and walk my dog."-Joyce
Read about how a pacemaker helped Joyce be more active.
Implantable defibrillators (ICDs)
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) can prevent sudden death from an abnormal heart rhythm and may help you live longer. An ICD checks the heart for very fast and deadly heart rhythms. If the heart goes into one of these rhythms, the ICD shocks it to stop the deadly rhythm and returns the heart to a normal rhythm.
If you get an ICD, you have to be careful not to get too close to some devices with strong magnetic or electrical fields. These include MRI machines, battery-powered cordless power tools, and CB or ham radios. But most everyday appliances are safe.
An ICD may be used alone or along with a pacemaker for heart failure.
Ventricular assist devices (VADs)
Ventricular assist devices (VADs), also known as heart pumps, may be placed into the chest to help the heart pump more blood. VADs can keep people alive until a donor heart is available for transplant. In some cases, VADs may also be used as an alternative to heart transplant for long-term treatment. VADs are used in people who have severe heart failure.
Intra-aortic balloon pump
Talk to your doctor before you take any over-the-counter medicine or supplement. They are used along with medical treatments for heart failure, not instead of treatment.
Fish oil (omega-3 fatty acid) supplements have been shown to help heart failure patients. In some studies, fish oil supplements, taken along with other heart failure medicines, helped people stay out of the hospital and live longer.2
No other supplement, vitamin, or hormone has been shown definitely to relieve heart failure or help you live longer.
Examples include coenzyme Q10 and hawthorn.
- Only some of the studies of coenzyme Q10 showed that it helps heart failure symptoms.3
- Hawthorn is an herb that is sometimes used in Europe and Asia to try to increase blood flow to the heart.