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    Heart Failure - Treatment Overview

    Your treatment for heart failure depends on:

    • The cause of your heart failure.
    • Which type of heart failure you have.
    • How bad your symptoms are (classification).
    • How well your body is able to make up (compensate) for your heart failure.
    • Your goals, wishes, and preferences about your treatment.

    In the early stages of heart failure, treatment can help your symptoms. It may also prevent more damage to your heart. Treatment may include:

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    Understanding Heart Failure -- the Basics

    Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't pump blood effectively to the lungs or the rest of the body. This can be because the person has developed a weakened heart muscle or because the heart muscle has thickened or stiffened, making it difficult to fill the heart and backing up blood into the lungs. With heart failure, the weakened heart pumps less blood than usual, causing the kidneys and adrenal glands to produce chemicals that help the body to hold onto salt and water. In...

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    As part of your ongoing treatment, your doctor will also try to prevent or treat problems-such as fever, arrhythmia, and anemia-that can lead to sudden heart failure. Treatment may include:

    • Getting vaccines. Your doctor may want you to get vaccines against pneumonia and flu. These vaccines can keep you from getting infections that could put you in the hospital.
    • Checking your weight. Your doctor will probably give you guidelines for watching fluid buildup and tell you how much weight gain is too much.
    • Getting devices to fix heart rhythm problems. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a biventricular pacemaker that can help your heart pump blood better. This is also called cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). Or you may have an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) to stop a deadly rhythm. Some people get a pacemaker that is combined with an ICD.
    • Oxygen treatment. Your doctor may recommend oxygen therapy to reduce your shortness of breath and increase your ability to exercise.

    You might take part in a disease management program. These programs include a broad range of services, such as education, home health care, visiting nurses, and rehabilitation.

    A very small number of people may have other treatments, including:

    Treatment for causes of heart failure

    If you have other heart problems that may have led to heart failure, you might have treatment for those problems:

    Sometimes heart failure can be fixed if another problem can be corrected, such as by treating hyperthyroidism.

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