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
  • Echocardiogram
  • 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:

Excerpted and adapted from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

<<PREVIOUSLY: Causes of Congestive Heart Failure<<

Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD. 4/08

Last Modified Date: July 01, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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