Heart Disease Forum
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Posted By  CCF Cardio MD-SGM on January 25, 1998 at 22:43:18:

In Reply to: HEART TRANSPLANT?? posted by Cindy on January 25, 1998 at 00:03:31:

: Hi. I am writing in regards to my dad. At this time, he is dealing with an enlarged heart, congestive heart failure. He is taking lacex, directics, and also, a dioxin. I am not sure of all else. He is 58 years old, and has been to 3 different doctors, from his primary to a transplant doctor. We are now waiting for the transplant doctor to see if his insurance will cover this. If not he will have to go a hospital that will accept it. Anyways, my question at this time, is, is a transplant his only means of help right now, and while he is waiting for the transplant, what should be done to keep the heart from getting larger, as it has increased in size just since August, until then it was ok for about 5 years. At this time they have given my dad no other meds to stop the heart from increasing, or to help with the heart congestive heart failure. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you for your time.
1 Responses
Avatar universal

Dear Cindy,
Therapy for congestive heart failure(CHF)  is tailored to factors such as symptoms, underlying cause of the disease, and degree of heart dysfunction.  CHF is a condition where the heart's pumping (or relaxing) ability has significantly decreased, causing symptoms such as breathlessness, fatigue, and swelling of the ankles or belly.  It is the end-result of numerous potential causes including coronary artery disease, valvular disease, congenital heart disease, long-standing high blood pressure, or myriad cardiac toxins.  Typical medications include the digoxin and lasix that your father is taking, as well as ACE inhibitors.   Also, it is of benefit to treat the underlying condition, such as active coronary artery disease, for example.  In response to your question, therapy with ACE inhibitors can help to slow the progression of this disease.   Another medication that is helpful in some patients is called Carvedilol.  Careful therapy with these medicines can often result in significant improvement in symptoms, sometimes obviating the need for urgent transplant consideration.  
Transplant is performed only when carefully titrated medical therapy has failed to achieve certain goals. These goals relate to exercise capacity (ability to perform simple tasks without experiencing limiting symptoms), controlling severe angina unresponsive to therapy, or controlling arrhythmias that are life-threatening.
Best of luck with this serious problem.  Information provided in the Heart Forum is for general purposes only.  Specific diagnoses and therapies can only be provided by your physician.  

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