Congestive Heart Failure (cont.)
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Congestive Heart Failure Interventions
Other treatment or procedures may be offered, depending on the underlying cause of the heart failure.
Angioplasty: This is an alternative to coronary bypass surgery for some people whose heart failure is caused by coronary artery disease and may be compounded by heart damage or a previous heart attack. Angioplasty is performed to treat narrowing or blockage of a coronary artery that supplies the left ventricle with blood. The narrowing or blockage is caused by cholesterol deposits.
Pacemaker: This device controls the rate of the heartbeat. A pacemaker may keep the heart from going too slow, increasing heart rate when the heart is not increasing enough with activity. It also helps sustain regular rates when the heart is not beating in a coordinated way. Or, the pacemaker performs some combination of these.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD): This device returns the heart to a normal rhythm by pacing or delivering an electrical shock, with a life-threatening arrhythmia.
Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT): This involves a biventricular pacemaker that is used to synchronize the pumping action of the left and right ventricles. Synchronization improves the effectiveness of the heart as a pump, since with heart failure the pumping action is sometimes uncoordinated.
Temporary Cardiac Support: An intra-aortic balloon pump is used as a temporary support of left ventricle function, such as in a large heart attack, waiting for the heart to recover. There are other similar devices that can be used to temporarily support the heart if there is something that can be done for the underlying heart failure.
Terrence X O'Brien, MD, FACC
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Heart failure is the pathophysiologic state in which the heart, via an abnormality of cardiac function (detectable or not), fails to pump blood at a rate commensurate with the requirements of the metabolizing tissues and/or pumps only from an abnormally elevated diastolic filling pressure.