Today, exciting new treatments for heart failure are being developed. Among these are implantable mechanical pumps that can assist the heart muscle in circulating blood throughout the body. These pumps reduce the workload of the heart and can help prevent heart failure from worsening. For someone who is waiting for a heart transplant or for whom a transplant is not an option, they can lead to a longer life and feeling better. In some cases, such as after a heart attack, these pumps may even allow the heart muscle to rest enough to heal.
Heart transplant—surgery to remove the heart muscle and replace it with a heart from a deceased donor—may be necessary in end-stage heart failure. At this time, there isn’t a fully mechanical heart that has replaced the need for donor hearts.
In children and adults who have congenital heart disease (heart defects that were present at birth), surgeries or interventional procedures may be recommended to correct the heart defect. Interventional procedures are treatments that are delivered via a thin tube (catheter) that is inserted into a blood vessel and guided to the area that requires treatment.
To find out about procedures and surgeries for treating heart failure, check out these articles on SecondsCount:
Adults who are treated with implantable devices or surgery will still need to make lifestyle changes and take medications to help manage their heart failure. Your heart failure care team can help you make these changes.
Children with heart failure will also be prescribed medications. Many of these medications are similar to what are prescribed to adults, but in smaller quantities. The child’s treating physician may recommend limits on activity. Guidance on these issues and many others will come from the child’s heart failure care team.