ABC of heart failure: Non-drug management
C R Gibbs, G Jackson, G Y H Lip
Approaches to the management of heart failure can be both non-pharmacological and pharmacological; each approach complements the other. This article will discuss non-pharmacological management.
Effective counselling and education of patients, and of the relatives or carers, is important and may enhance long term adherence to management strategies. Simple explanations about the symptoms and signs of heart failure, including details on drug and other treatment strategies, are valuable. Emphasis should be placed on self help strategies for each patient; these should include information on the need to adhere to drug treatment. Some patients can be instructed how to monitor their weight at home on a daily basis and how to adjust the dose of diuretics as advised; sudden weight increases (>2 kg in 1-3 days), for example, should alert a patient to alter his or her treatment or seek advice.
In general, alcohol consumption should be restricted to moderate levels, given