Overview of Heart Failure Management

Heart failure management is a multi-disciplinary approach (medications, lifestyle changes, procedures, etc.) to all components of heart failure to idealize patients' functional capacity and survival. Heart failure management has several important components:

Managing other medical conditions: An important part of treating heart failure is carefully managing other medical conditions that may make your heart failure worse. This includes managing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. If you take medications to treat these conditions, take them faithfully!

Heart failure medications: Almost every heart failure treatment plan includes medications. ACE inhibitors and beta blockers are the most commonly prescribed medications, but you may also be prescribed diuretics, blood thinners, digitalis, or others. These medications work by lowering the workload of the heart, strengthening the pumping action of the heart, and/or ridding your body of excess fluid. Research shows that following your medication treatment plan has the following benefits:

Other procedures: Some people with heart failure benefit from surgical procedures or from procedures performed in the hospital's catheter laboratory ("cath lab"). These procedures can accomplish the following:

Self-management with MAWDS: Self-management is key to heart failure treatment. This means creating and following a regimen that reduces the strain on your weakened heart and improves your heart's ability to do its work. It also means learning to monitor your symptoms daily and recognize when you need to seek medical help. The following MAWDS acronym may help you remember — and follow — the basics of self-management:

Heart Failure Management In Depth

Learn more about heart failure management from Intermountain's Patient Education Library: