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How the New Guidelines for Heart Failure Will Affect Patients

The heart has four chambers. The right ventricle and right atrium pump deoxygenated blood to the lungs while the left ventricle and left atrium take oxygen-rich blood from the lungs, and through the aorta, pump it to the rest of the body. A percentage of blood remains in the left ventricle every time it pumps out blood. This percentage is known as the ejection function.

Heart failure can occur in the case of a reduced ejection function. Symptoms that come about due to reduced ejection function are swollen ankles, difficulty breathing when lying flat, and shortness of breath. Even small activities such as getting dressed can be challenging if the disease is advanced.

How the updated guidelines can help patients with HFrEF

Treating heart failure usually involves finding the proper medications and administering them in the correct dose. The process can be slow as physicians aim to give treatment tailored to a patient’s circumstance. 

Recently, new guidelines have been added to help physicians treat heart failure patients due to reduced ejection function (HFrEF). These guidelines have been made to aid the process of selecting drugs and deciding on the right dose.

An essential part of the process is to select goals. These goals differ with a patient. They can be short or long term. A goal might be to ensure a patient can carry out typical day to day tasks. It can also be to minimise disruption caused by medication. The guidelines also give ways to confirm that medication is working appropriately.

According to the new guidelines, studies examining heart failure treatment haven’t taken the elderly or African Americans into account. For this reason, it notes that the optimal dose of medication for these two groups is not known. The guidelines try to give directions when dealing with elderly or African American patients.

Following a treatment plan for HFrEF

Costs, forgetfulness and side effects can make it hard to follow a treatment plan. However, not following a regimen can be detrimental to your health. Talking to your doctor about the challenges you face can be helpful.

Your doctor might suggest buying cheaper generic drugs, using reminders or simplifying your regimen to make it easier to follow.

Written by Payal Gupta

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