Heart Failure

Understanding the Four Stages of Heart Failure

Many patients often misunderstand the concept of heart failure and believe that with this condition, the heart, as a mechanical pump, has stopped working entirely. However, heart failure is not that at all. Instead, it describes a condition in which the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body is degraded. As such, it is a progressive disorder that may eventually lead to severe disability and death.

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What Beta Blockers are Approved for Heart Failure?

There are two beta blockers approved for heart failure in the United States.

The first is metoprolol succinate (also called Toprol XL, Toprol, metoprolol ER or metoprolol ER succinate). This long-acting formulation should not be confused with short-acting metoprolol (metoprolol, metoprolol tartrate or Lopressor) which is NOT an approved drug for heart failure.

The second beta blocker approved for the treatment of heart failure is carvedilol (also called Coreg or Coreg CR).

Drugs that are NOT approved for heart failure include atenolol and Bystolic. These are approved to treat hypertension.

NOT APPROVED: metoprolol tartrate, Lopressor, atenolol, Bystolic

APPROVED: metoprolol succinate, Toprol XL, Toprol, metoprolol ER, metoprolol ER succinate, carvedilol, Coreg, Coreg CR


Three Components of Treating Heart Failure

There are three components to keeping heart failure under control:

  • Daily weights
  • Diuretics
  • Fluid restriction/salt restriction

Daily weights are critical for heart failure patients.

Weights should be done the first thing every morning on the same reliable home scale before eating or drinking anything. Establish a DRY WEIGHT with your physician.

Think of ALL WEIGHT GAIN as an INCREASE IN FLUID, not as getting fatter.

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