Heart Failure Care:
Heart Failure Care: Percent of heart failure patients who received all recommended treatments based on their clinical condition:
*source: US Departments of Health and Human Services (http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov/About/HOSInfo/Timely-Effective-Care.aspx)
Heart failure is a chronic condition. It results in symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. Before you leave the hospital, the staff at the hospital should provide you with information to help you manage the symptoms after you get home. The information should include your: Activity level (what you can and can't do); Diet (what you should, and shouldn't eat or drink); Medications; Follow-up appointment; Watching your daily weight; and what to do if your symptoms get worse.
The proper treatment for heart failure depends on what area of your heart is affected. An important test is to check how your heart is pumping, called an "evaluation of the left ventricular systolic function." It can tell your health care provider whether the left side of your heart is pumping properly.
ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) are medicines used to treat patients with heart failure and are particularly beneficial in those patients with decreased function of the left side of the heart. Early treatment with ACE inhibitors and ARBs in patients who have heart failure symptoms or decreased heart function after a heart attack can also reduce their risk of death from future heart attacks. ACE inhibitors and ARBs work by limiting the effects of a hormone that narrows blood vessels, and may thus lower blood pressure and reduce the work the heart has to perform.
Smoking increases your risk for developing blood clots and heart disease, which can result in a heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Smoking causes your blood vessels to thicken. Fat and plaque then stick to the wall of your blood vessels, which makes it harder for blood to flow. Reduced blood flow to your heart may result in chest pain, high blood pressure, and an increased heart rate. Smoking is linked to lung disease and cancer, and can cause premature death. It is important for your health that you get information to help you quit smoking before you leave the hospital.