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Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

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If doctors cannot reliably distinguish between shortness of breath from CHF and COPD, both conditions are often treated together.

Treatments for COPD focus on the lungs and the airways, the branching network of tubes inside the lungs. The main treatments for COPD are bronchodilators, inhaled medicines that help open the airways.

Heart failure treatments reduce the workload on the heart and help prevent unhealthy growth of heart muscle. Categories of treatments for heart failure include:

  • Diuretics, which increase urination and reduce the heart strain from fluid overload.
  • Beta-blockers, which prevent excessive stress on the heart and reduce blood pressure. However, these would not be used if a person is having an acute episode of heart failure.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, which lower blood pressure and reduce heart stress.
  • Other blood pressure medicines, which prevent long-term damage to the heart.

People with severe shortness of breath from COPD and heart failure may receive other treatments as well:

  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone or Solu-Medrol, which can improve breathing in COPD.
  • Antibiotics, for any bacterial infection that may be contributing.
  • Supplemental oxygen.
  • Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation, a form of machine-assisted breathing.
  • Mechanical ventilation, or temporary life support through a breathing tube.
  • Intravenous medicines to help reduce heart strain.

People with both COPD and heart failure are often treated by a team of doctors including a primary care physician, a cardiologist, and a pulmonologist.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

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Archived: March 20, 2014

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Read the Original Article: COPD and Heart Failure