Medications, Surgery, and Devices

Your doctor will ask you to take medicines to treat your heart failure. Medicines treat the symptoms, prevent your heart failure from getting worse, and help you live longer. It is very important that you take your medicine as your health care team directed.

These medicines:

  • Help the heart muscle pump better
  • Keep your blood from clotting
  • Lower your cholesterol levels
  • Open up blood vessels or slow your heart rate so your heart doesn’t have to work as hard
  • Reduce damage to the heart
  • Reduce the risk of abnormal heart rhythms
  • Replace potassium
  • Rid your body of excess fluid and salt (sodium)

It is very important that you take your medicine as your doctor and nurse directed. Do not take any other drugs or herbs without first asking your doctor or nurse about them. Drugs that may make your heart failure worse include:

  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)

The following surgeries and devices for certain patients with heart failure may be recommended:

  • Coronary bypass surgery (CABG) or angioplasty with or without stenting may help improve blood flow to the damaged or weakened heart muscle.
  • Heart valve surgery may be done if changes in a heart valve are causing your heart failure.
  • A pacemaker can help treat slow heart rates or help both sides of your heart contract at the same time.
  • A defibrillator sends an electrical pulse to stop life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms.