Congestive heart failure treatment helps a weak heart pump more oxygen-rich blood through the body, so the body can mobilize and function properly. Most congestive heart failure treatment involves some type of surgery, including the implant of ventricular assist devices, minimally-invasive heart surgery or even heart transplants. Working alongside a trusted cardiologist is a recommended avenue to take for any individual who has suffered from heart failure. Most congestive heart failure treatment protocols also call for making lifestyle changes, such as changing diet and increasing physical activity in gentle and safe ways.
Most treatments that aid to increase the strength of the heart and the efficiency of proper blood flow, when relating to congestive heart failure, involve some type of surgery. Minimally-invasive heart surgery involves making incisions on the right side of the chest and working between the ribs, rather than breaking the sternum as performed in open heart surgery. Temporarily stopping the heart happens as quickly as possible during the procedure to help divert blood flow from the heart. The advantage to this surgical method is less time spent in the hospital, but the risks include heart attack, stroke and infection.
A short-term solution — and sometimes a long-term solution, depending on the patient's condition — uses an implantation of a ventricular assist device that helps pump blood from the ventricles of the heart to the rest of the body. Most cardiologists experienced in congestive heart failure treatment modalities have the expertise to administer these implants during surgery. Heart transplants are another option, but only if all other methods have failed the patient, such as changing lifestyle behaviors and medications. This type of surgery can require extensive stays in the hospital, depending on the patient's condition.
Other than surgeries, medications can be administered to help strengthen the heart so it can provide enough blood to the body. These medications are usually used as a sole treatment for patients with milder forms of congestive heart failure, or are used by those with more severe forms combined with other medical therapies. Doctors might also refer a patient to a dietitian to help structure a healthy eating plan that will support heart health and aid in recovery. Lifestyle changes such as physical exercise can also be implemented, but only at gentle levels before gradually increasing intensity.