Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a medical condition that is a leading cause of hospitalization for patients aged 65 years and above. The risk factors associated with CHF include hypertension, diabetes and other cardiac diseases. Cardiomyopathy is a medical complication that relates closely to CHF and is characterized by weakened or damaged cardiac muscles. This two cardiac complication causes the heart to work extra harder than normal. The main aim of the various treatments used to manage CHF and cardiomyopathy is to reduce the cardiac workload, decrease the risk of arrhymias, boost cardiac function and hemodynamic, and improve a patient’s general wellbeing (Topol, 2007).
Nursing care for patients with cardiomyopathy
The initial step involves a thorough assessment of the prevailing signs and symptoms. The nurse has to look for all possible etiologic factors, which include pregnancy, heavy alcohol intake or cases of recent illnesses. The nurse can also enquire on the history of cardiomyopathy in the immediate family members. Any report suggesting the presence of chest pain calls for the nurse to conduct a thorough review regarding the pain. When conducting a pain review, the nurse should check for the presence of orthopnea, dyspnea, PND, or syncope. There is also a need to evaluate on the patient’s usual diet in order to assess whether there should be alterations on the diet to reduce sodium intake (Hosenpud & Greenberg, 2007).
Based on the fact that cardiomyopathy and CHF are chronic conditions, the nurse should carry out a detailed psychological history. In doing so, the nurse should explore the impacts of the medical condition on the patient’s responsibilities within the community and family. Being able to identify potential stressors helps the patient and the care givers to come with activities that relieve complications that come along with changes in health status. It is necessary to identify the patient’s support system at early stages of disease development. This helps in reducing potential medical complications, as well as involving family members in giving care to the patient (Hosenpud & Greenberg, 2007).
The main aim of cardiomyopathy treatment is to manage symptoms and signs of this medical condition. Moreover, the treatment aims at reducing complications and worsening of the condition. The nature of treatment given to a patient is determined by the cardiomyopathy a patient is suffering from (Topol, 2007).
For patients with dilated cardiomyopathy, the treatment plan may include medications, surgically implanted devices or both. Medications effective in treating this form cardiomyopathy include Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, Angiotensin receptor blockers, Beta blockers, Digoxin and Diuretics. These drugs help in improving the general performance of a patient’s cardiac system as well as the general patient’s health. For patients suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the treatment plan may include the use of beta blockers in order to relax a patient’s heart, slow the pumping action, and stabilize the heart’s rhythm. Examples of beta blockers include calcium channel blockers or Lopressor. In cases where the beta blockers fail to be effective, surgery or medical devices may be used to manage the condition (Topol, 2007).
The best way to provide the patient and family members with information regarding cardiomyopathy and CHF is to prepare an easy to read manual that provides all the essential information regarding the medical condition. This would work best because the patient and family members will always have the manual for any referrals (Topol, 2007).
The proposed teaching plan would comprise information regarding medication regimen, monitoring of symptoms, as well as management of symptoms. On medication, the patient needs to learn about the dosage, when to take the medication, and the potential side effects from the intake of the medication. In addition, the manual would contain information on any changes in lifestyle behaviors. Other essential information includes how to read nutrition labels, keeping a record on daily weight and symptoms, and preparing for daily exercises to increase tolerance. The plan may also include information on pregnancy when preparing a manual for a female patient (Hosenpud & Greenberg, 2007).