Congestive Heart Failure Treatment
What Are the Tests and Treatments?
Diagnostic tests for CHF include:
- BNP (B-type Natriuretic Peptide) blood test - measures the level of BNP hormone in your blood; the higher the level the greater the chance of heart failure
- Cardiac catheterization
- Chest x-ray
- Coronary angiography
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Exercise stress test (cardiac stress test)
- Holter monitor
- Nuclear heart scan
- Pharmacologic stress test
- Thyroid function tests
There are medications that can be used to treat CHF, such as:
- Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors works on the natural chemicals in the body that are involved in regulating blood pressure, resulting in lower blood pressure
- Beta blockers blocks chemical called noradrenalin, which can widen the arteries and decrease the work of the heart
- Digitalis medicines strengthen the heartbeat
- Diuretics help remove excess fluid and salt from the body
- Nitrates relax and widen the blood vessels in the body, allowing more blood and oxygen to flow to the heart
Surgeries and procedures to treat CHF include:
- Enhanced counterpulsation (ECP)
- Heart valve replacement surgery
- Intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP)iInsertion
- Ventricular assist device placement
- Valvulosplasty (Balloon or Surgical)
- Heart transplant (when all other treatments fail to control symptoms)
Medical devices that may be used are:
- Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)
- Balloon Valvuloplasty Catheter
- Enhanced Counterpulsation (ECP) Device
- Intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP)
- Prosthetic Heart Valve
But the treatment a person has the most control over is the same one that can help prevent congestive heart failure in the first place leading a healthy lifestyle:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Control blood pressure.
- Control blood cholesterol.
- Prevent and manage diabetes mellitus.
- Quit or do not start smoking.
- Manage stress.
- Get enough sleep.
Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD. 4/08
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As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...