Congestive heart failure - right-sided
Heart failure requires periodic monitoring by your health care provider. The goals of treatment include controlling the symptoms, reducing the heart's workload, and improving your heart's ability to function. Any underlying disorders and causes should be treated, if possible.
The most common therapy for right-sided heart failure is treating left-sided heart failure.
Valve replacements and procedures such as bypass surgery (CABG) and angioplasty are the solution for some people.
Generally, you must reduce the salt in your food and the amount of liquids you drink. You should also consider losing weight if you are overweight, stopping smoking, and avoiding too much alcohol.
Diuretics (water pills) can help reduce fluid accumulation. Furosemide or bumetanide can help moderate to severe symptoms. Hydrochlorothiazide, chlorthalidone, and chlorothiazide may be used for mild symptoms. Another drug, spironolactone, can prevent salt retention and help patients with severe heart failure.
Medications that reduce your heart's workload include ACE inhibitors, ARBs, and drugs such as hydralazine and long-acting nitrates. They can prolong the life of very sick patients with failing hearts.
Beta-blockers (such as metoprolol or carvedilol) can help prevent death in some heart failure patients.
Digitalis may be prescribed to increase the muscle contraction of the heart and help prevent hospitalization.
Some patients with ECG abnormalities may benefit from a a biventricular pacemaker, which helps both ventricles contract at the same time (CRT, cardiac resynchronization therapy). A defibrillation device such as an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) helps some patients. CRT and ICD may be combined and implanted in a single device (biventricular pacemaker-ICD).
Review Date: 11/06/2006
Reviewed By: Glenn Gandelman, MD, MPH, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.