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For children with heart failure, doctors use many different treatments to lower the workload of the heart. The goals are to control extra salt and water and to improve the heart's ability to pump.

Congestive Heart Failure Treatment Options


Diuretics help the kidneys rid the body of extra water. This lowers the amount of fluid in the lungs to lower blood pressure and improve circulation.

Other medicines are used to control the blood pressure and the heart’s contractions. To help the heart pump better, doctors use medicines like these:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which lower blood pressure
  • Beta-blockers, which lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • Calcium channel blockers, which lower heart rate
  • Digoxin, which makes the heart beat slower and with more force

Other treatments

Doctors also try to find and treat any condition that caused the heart failure. So some children need other treatments, like surgery to repair a heart defect or medicine for arrhythmia.


If the heart is too damaged, a heart transplant may be needed. The heart transplant team at Seattle Children’s performs numerous transplants each year for children with this or other heart problems that cannot be controlled using other treatments. Read more about our heart transplant program.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

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Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

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Download Spring 2014 (PDF)