Hi I would Like to know what is the next step to take when someone has an enlarged heart that is working only 17%.
My brother is in the hospital right now is back in the hospital for diffculty breathing.
Your brother is probably having a respiratory problem due to the low cardiac output. When the heart is pumping out 17% of the blood received, the blood backs up into the lungs and fluids leak (edema) into the tissues causing breathing problems especially when inclined.
The next step is appropriate treatment that will remove or reduce fluids in the system. Medication to reduce the heart's workload by dilating vessels, diuretic, beta blocker will provide time for the heart to recover and reverse remodeling (if it is dilated due to stress and strain). I had the same problem several years ago, and at the time I had damaged heart cells, enlarged left ventricle with an EF 13-29%.. Currently, heart cells are functioning normally and EF is normal at 59%.
How is your brother? It is important to have regular follow up appointments for periodic testing of the heart function as well as finding out the cause of the enlarged heart and treating it. An echocardiogram, may be done once in awhile to give an estimate of how well his heart is pumping blood with each stroke or beat.
Aside from the medications that are prescribed, limiting salt and sodium intake and avoiding smoking are also helpful. Enough rest, including after exercise, eating, or other activities is also recommended to allow the heart to rest as well. If there is swelling present, keep his feet elevated. It is also recommended to monitor his weight daily to see any weight gain that can be a sign that there is retained fluid and that the pump function of the heart is worsening.
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