Diagnosis and Treatment of End Stage Heart Disease
Medical history and physical examination provide strong indications of heart failure. Extensive laboratory work-ups are usually required to track down the cause and extent of heart damage. Blood and urine tests, electrocardiograms, imaging exams and more may be asked by the attending physician or cardiologist to evaluate the cause of heart disease.
Treatment of heart failure begins with complete rest which reduces the demand for oxygen in the heart and the rest of the body. Modification of daily activities is important to achieve balance in the oxygen supply to the tissues of the body. The patient’s diet is also adjusted to decrease salt, fat and sugar content that can aggravate the disease.
Lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol consumption, controlling weight, demands of one's job and other stressful situations have to be modified to prevent worsening of the disease and to relieve symptoms.
Medications vary according to the cause of heart disease. Examples of these are:
- Diuretics to decrease fluids in the lungs and edematous parts of the body
- Drugs to augment heart muscle contraction
- Drugs to control and regulate heart rate
- Anti-cholesterol and anti-diabetic drugs
Other modes of treatment may involve the implantation of a pacemaker, heart surgery or a possible heart transplant, depending on the need of the patient. An implantable defibrillator may also be used to prevent sudden death due to a heart attack.
Heart failure is a serious and chronic disorder that needs a modification of lifestyle and compliance to therapy. The prognosis of end stage heart disease ultimately depends on the stage of heart failure, the inherent cause of the disease, the age and condition of the patient and the adequacy of treatment.