There are several different courses available to treat congestive heart failure.
Most often, some type of medication is prescribed for heart failure patients, such as:
•Vasodilators, often the foundation of treatment for CHF, may be prescribed to dilate blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and easing blood flow
•Diuretics elevate the rate of urination, thus reducing the amount of fluid in the body and are useful for patients with fluid retention and hypertension.
•Digitalis glycosides strengthen the heart's contractions, helping to improve circulation.
•Anticoagulants (such as warfarin) help prevent blood clots.
•Beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and tranquilizers help improve blood flow, ease breathing and relieve anxiety.
•Beta blockers added to ACE inhibitors have been shown to improve survival.
It may be necessary, in advanced cases, to administer oxygen through a nasal tube. Mechanical devices for administration of oxygen are available for home use after the condition has stabilized in the hospital.
More severe cases of heart failure may require surgery to bypass blocked blood vessels or replace heart valves.
If the blood vessels are clogged with plaque, the doctor may perform an outpatient procedure called percutaneous transluminal angioplasty. The doctor will use a catheter and a balloon to expand the diameter of the blood vessel so blood can flow more freely.
If other treatments fail and the heart muscle has been too badly damaged, you may require a heart transplant. The survival rate for this surgery is 80 percent after one year and over 60 percent after four years.