Reducing Fluid-Build Up
According to the Texas Heart Institute, one of the medications commonly given to patients who have undergone heart surgery is a diuretic. This is because patients with heart failure may have experienced fluid build-up in his or her body. A diuretic, or “fluid pill", will help eliminate the excess fluid by causing the patient to have to urinate more often.
The use of diuretics by heart patients should help reduce swelling in the legs and feet. It can also help reduce the swelling in the abdomen from the fluid build-up.
Some of the diuretics used go under the brand names Lasix, HydroDiuril and Zaroxolyn. Diuretics can come with side effects. These side effects include:
- Potassium loss
- Cramping in legs
Both fluid-build up and the side effects from the use of diuretics should be reported to the treating physician. This is because the fluid build-up can cause the heart to have to work harder, which can also affect the patient’s recovery.
One way to monitor fluid build-up is to weigh daily, noting any unusual weight gains. Alberta Health Services recommends that if the gain is five pounds (or more) in two days, the treating physician should be called immediately. Fluid-build up may be indicated.