A woman may need to stay in the hospital until acute symptoms subside.
Because it is very often possible to restore heart function, and the women who have this condition are often young, everything possible is done to treat the problem.
This may include extreme steps such as:
- Use of a balloon heart pump (aortic counterpulsation balloon)
- Immunosuppressive therapy (such as medicines used to treat cancer or prevent rejection of a transplanted organ)
Heart transplant if severe congestive heart failure persists
For most women, however, treatment mainly focuses on relieving the symptoms. Some symptoms go away on their own without treatment.
Medicines that are often used include:
- Digitalis to strengthen the heart's pumping ability
- Diuretics ("water pills") to remove excess fluid
- Low-dose beta-blockers
A low-salt diet may be recommended. Fluid may be restricted in some cases. Activities, including nursing the baby, may be limited when symptoms develop.
Daily weighing may be recommended. A weight gain of 3 - 4 pounds or more over 1 or 2 days may be a sign of fluid buildup.
Women who smoke and drink alcohol will be advised to stop, since these habits may make the symptoms worse.