Inotropes are a group of drugs that alter the force of the contractions of the heart. Given its strength, inotropes are almost always only used in cases where a patient has developed end-stage heart failure. Since this is a grave complication, it is essential to consult a healthcare provider at the earliest in the case of heart failure. Specialists provide inotrope therapy in Metairie to address such complaints.
Process of Inotrope Therapy
There are two types of inotropes – positive inotropes and negative inotropes. The differences are made based on the function they perform.
Positive inotropes make the heart’s contractions stronger so it can pump more blood with lesser heartbeats. Increasing the force involved in pumping ensures that the heart can fulfill the oxygen demands of the body.
The primary purpose of positive inotropes is to stimulate a weak or damaged heart to pump harder. These are also used to speed up the rhythm of the heart. Positive inotropic therapy is usually given to patients suffering from cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle which restricts the heart’s ability to pump blood normally), congestive heart failure, and those with a recent history of heart attacks. In the aftermath of heart surgeries, sometimes the heart is weakened. Positive inotropes are administered to such patients as well.
On the other hand, negative inotropes perform the opposite function on the heart. They weaken the contractions of the heart and slow its rate of pumping blood. Negative inotropic therapy is administered to patients suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure), arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), angina (chest pain), and chronic heart failure. Negative inotropes help to relieve the pressure on a weak heart which may be unable to pump blood normally.
Side Effects of Inotropic Therapy
Inotrope therapy may have some undesirable side effects:
- Weakness or lightheadedness.
- Breathlessness or shortness of breath.
- Extremely increased or decreased heart rate.
- High or low blood pressure.
- Palpitation or irregular heartbeats.
In case of severe side effects, a patient must contact a doctor immediately. Patients must also adopt some practices to prevent such complications from arising during the use of inotropic therapy.
Patients must regularly schedule appointments with their doctor to stay updated about the status of their medication. It is also crucial to prevent the chances of catching an infection while on inotropic therapy since the heart is already vulnerable to external intervention.