Heart failure.

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Having had an echo cardiogram last week I was told I have "heart failure ". Been prescribed beta blocker and anticoagulant, was already taking an ace inhibitor. My pulse rate has come down from 120/130 to nrmal 60 but still very irregular. I have been referred to a cardiologist, awaiting an appointment.

Any advice on lifestyle changes etc appreciated.

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  • Posted


    I'm sorry to hear that.  I have heart failure as well.  An echo showed that I have

    preserved ejection fraction, which simply means the left side is still working pretty good, and there are different lifestyle changes to follow based on whether you have heart failure with preserved ejection fraction or with reduced ejection fract-

    ion which is worse, and associated with a higher mortality risk.  You need to watch

    sodium (salt) consumption, weigh yourself every morning if you have a scale, because edema can sneek up on you very quickly.  I have one of the best diuretics

    you can take, it's better than Lasix, but it's still a loop diuretic, but stronger.  It pulls

    water out fairly quick over a 12 hour period.  It beats going into the hospital and 

    having bilateral iv's put in your arms, unless of course you develop acute heart failure, which may require that mode.  Reducing stress is also important, keeping alcohol to a minimum of one small glass, quitting smoking if you do, and eating

    smaller meals throughout the day, rather than 3 large ones.  I don't have to worry

    about that, because my heart failure has caused me to have a diminished appetite,

    and early satiety when I do eat, but that can be relatively common.  Also try to get

    8 hours of sleep every night, and if you have hypertension, keep it under control.  I wish you the best, this is not an easy disease to deal with on an emotional level.  I try to surround myself with activiities that don't tire me, but keep my mind off of the 

    "what ifs"

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    • Posted

      Just so you know David, not everyone who has heart failure has blockages, my ateries looked amazing at my last catheterization, but I have an uncorrected congenital heart defect, and that is causing my heart failure.  I also take the supplement acytel L-carnitine.  It's supposed to be very good for the heart muscle.  Believe it or not  our own heart muscle produces a hormone when heart failure is evident.  It's called brain natriuretic peptide, but it has nothing to do with our brains.  It got that name because it was first discovered in pigs, and then they discovered that our left ventricles produce this same hormone when the heart is under the stress of insufficiency or  failure.  A lot of physcians run the BNP levels quite often to see how their patients are doing with a particular therapy.  The only time they don't do it often is with a paitent who has renal insufficiency, because that condition causes the BNP to be raised falsly, but it doesn't necessarily mean they have heart failure.


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    • Posted

      Wonderful post Scotgal, - you will be interested to know, even Dr's hopsitals can make mistakes.

      You sound as though you know yourself and your medications pretty throughly.

      I have found out the hard way, with husband about idiot Dr's initally with GP saying nothing wrong with husband, and from then on its seems to me saving my husband by questioning the Dr's opinion of what is going on, and even getting angry and telling them they are wrong to their faces, consultant arrived and agreed with me which was scary. 

      I have done alot of reading about my husbands condition library books, for a start, then GP's library, Dr to Dr papers on the internet, university sites mainly, until I have become an expert (drip under pressure) and when the Dr's and nurses will open their minds and listen to what I have to say, maybe not using correct medical terms to describe, but getting my point across usually failry well. 

      Last week husband had virus, I was worried about him, took him to the hospital, I arrived next day to find they had a drip up and running, and they were allowing him to drink as much as he liked.

      I questioned the nurses about his weight in the morning, and what was it now, they refused to weigh him, I demanded to see a Dr, and I was not leaving until i spoke to him, the Dr's attitude was get him weighted now, 2 kilos heavier than in the morning, alarm bells started ringing in my head, and Dr agreed, while I was at it I looked at his chart over Dr's shoulder, and said why in gods name would they have him on 2 panadol (pain killers) every 6 hours, when his livers re that high, and I pointed at the charts, again Dr agreed, and reduced his panadol by half.   Should the nurses have a duty of care to a cardio patient if the Dr's order up something crazy, like the drip, or are they sooo scared of the Dr's that they will do exactly as they are told even if it is putting the patient in danger.

      GRRRRRRRR, I can get really angry when he would be better off at home in my care, but I felt he was too sick, to be at home, even our current GP agreed he should be in hospital.

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  • Posted

    David - husband has heart failure, difference is he does not have blocked ateries, his was caused by a virus or so the Dr's thinks, as there doesn;t seem to be any other issues.

    They put him on very low dose aspririn, that would be stopping any clots forming.

    I also have him on blood pressure meds, and cholestrol medication, as well as bisoporol, from my understanding, the blood pressure meds and bisoporol keep his blood pressure low and also his heart beat slow, as the Dr said to me, if you strain a muscle in your leg, we tell you to put it up and rest it, little hard to do with the heart, so resting is a slow heartbeat, and low blood pressure. 

    I have a small blood pressure monitor at home and the Dr's have given me the range his heartbeat and blood pressure should be. heart beat under 70, and blood pressure about 120/70 or therabouts. Have had episodes of extremely low blood pressure, dehydrated, took him back to heart hospital, where they kept him for a couple of days.

    Have learn;t from re-hab salt is a NO NO, have learn't discovered there is salt in everything processed, so we prepare our food from stratch, for a start seemed very bland, but have learn;t to add, pepper, onions, shallots, spices, parsley, and other flavours but no calories. Also have learn;t to eat healthly with no junk food, no alcohol or soft drinks, keeping sugar content very low, and also watch fat, great dietian has been a godsend.

    Also have learn;t that keeping fluid balance is really important and careful, I have a diary that when he first gets up takes his weight, and then restricts his fluid to 1 half litres of fluid a day, very hard at first but have learn;t with practice when we can abuse that 1 half litres a day, if he is sweating need more to make up, again his weight even later in the day is a good indicator of fluid overload, for most swollen ankles and divit staying depressed is a good indicator, unfortunately husband does not have swollen ankles to be that indicator, just my knowledge of how he looks and when I touch his skin, he feels wet when he has been doing nothing (not sweating)

    For husband walking has been a life saver, he could not use the toilet in the hospital, when he was discharged, needed a wheelchair, set out chairs at home so he could use toilet at other end of house, and slowly over weeks, removed one chair at a time, then suggested he walk to letter box in front of house, (we live in australia), chair at letter box to take a rest, that little walk became about 5 klms in 18 months, which he does each and every day.

    Just a comment on vitamin C, Dr's would laugh at you, but I strongly believe his craving of oranges has helped him recover form the virus that destryoed his heart muslce, he still craves them, he eats about 5 kls a week, up to two a day. 

    Dr seem amazed at how well he generally is for someboady with his level of heart failure and how much it has improved over the years, EF 23% orginally, last week at 45% which is a huge diffrence for heart failure patient, and they say to me, just keep doing what you are, it seems to be helping.

    And yes you doo need to be in the care of cardiologist, Gp's just don't know enough to help you, altought your;s seemed to know a little more than our original GP, he told us their was nothing wrong with husband, cardiologist at a completly diffirent opinion, I still hope to this day she picked up the phone and had a strong talk to him about his diagnosic skills, as she said to us he should not have missed very loud warning sings on ECG, she was kind enough to show us what a normal ECG looked like and what my husband's ECG looked like, and turned an asked me if I could see the difference, which I could clearly see when she pointed it out.


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    • Posted

      Hi Lyn

      Thanks for your reply and information.

      I had Atrial Flutter (pulse went up to 140)  three years ago, saw a cardiologist privately and he then perfomed Cardiac Ablation on the NHS, from my groin into my heart and after the procedure as a day patient everything returned to normal.

      Until last Thursday when my heart went haywire. My GP sent me to hospital where ECG confirmed what I already knew. The put me on Apixaban (Beta blocker) and Bisoprolol (anticoagulant), I was also still taking Perindopril (Ace inhibitor) since the ablation. Last Sunday I was called for an Echocardiogram, the results went to myGP who informed me that I am suffering Heart Failure.

      He has written to the hospital where I had the ablation three years ago to set up an appointment with the Cardiologist.When  this will be, I dont Know.This Tuesday having blood tests

      I am taking an antibiotic once a day, long term, for another condition not related to my heart.

      Not feeling too well, I think from the medications but still very active at 73 and enjoy walking etc.

      Will try to keep in touch.

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  • Posted

    Check with your Dr, but husband's medication has been changed from Prendopril  to Irbesartan 75mg, as recommneded by very senior cardiologist here in australia.  From what i understand Prendopril works through oil or fat in your bady and Irbesartan works through water in your body.  Senior cardio said he has none of his patients or very few on Prendopril now.  I can give you his name if you like later.

    Bisoporol - a number of patients in our heart re-hab group were having probelms with bisoporol, some could not tolerate at all, others were on a lessor dose, husband on 5mg, cardio wants to put him on 10mg as of him getting over this virus that has given him a really big fright.

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    • Posted

      Further to our recent correspondence, I think our NHS service goes for the cheapest medications, unlike Austrlia.

      Also I want to point out that the antibiotic I am taking is low dose once a day because I had a bladder cancer which was successfully rmoved but left me with a weakness so that I have to catheterise three times a day which leaves me prone to UTIs. 

      Had my blood test tthis morning, will get results in several days. Funnily, I had a call this afternoon from my doctor to come to the surgery for a blood test. Ha Ha.

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    • Posted

      Our australian public system also will not spend one cent more than they have to for medications, our medications as a pensioner, now past 65, but previously a pensioner because of Illness, our pescriptions costs us $6.00 each item until we reach somewhere about $180.00 for the calendar yr, and only then do we get them for free.  But cheeky buggers have taken off a huge number of items off the discount list, including pain killers, needles for diabetcs and or injecting medications, and thats just the ones that have affected us, I have severe rheumotoid arthirits, and getting onto the biologicals that the  specialist says might help me has been a nightmare, as I have responded to some mediactions and then had a severe reaction after a few months, so that sets me back to square one, you have to show no response to medications to get onto biologacals.

      and getting into hospital, well you just about have to be dead, they like to tell you non-urgent, you really have to be pro-active with visiting private specialists, paying for their opinion, and then when they tell you of your need to be in hospital, your reply has to be something to the effect, "well you had better write a strongly enough worded letter to the public hospital to get me seen if its that urgent'',with a cancer I had it worked wonders, 10 days later in the public hospital and operated on, with daughter, he picked up the phone and rang the hospital in front of us, and told me to drive her straight to the hospital they would be waiting, they were. Husband heart failure well thats completly a shemozzle, of our local Gp saying nothing wrong with him, to collpaseing at home, and local hospital again saying nothing wrong with him, nurses are the ones who tipped me off and said drive him across city to the specailist heart hospital, I didn;t even realise they had a emergency dept, and it you arrive by yourself they have to take you in, and at the very least examine you to see if you are OK, ambulnace would have deliverd him back to our local hospital as it all works in catchments, like school boundaries.

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