After You Are Discharged
(Heart Failure)

Once you return home from the hospital after treatment for heart failure, it is important to follow the instructions of your doctor and other members of your medical team closely. You can take the following additional steps on your own after discharge. 

Lift Your Mood
It is normal to feel sad or stressed at times when you are living with heart complications. If you feel overwhelmed, below are some options for meeting your emotional needs.

  • Spend time doing things you enjoy, such as hobbies, meditating or being with people you care about.
  • Share what you have learned about heart failure with the people in your life.
  • Join a support group for people with heart failure.

Never Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Talk to your doctor or a therapist if you are feeling helpless or have thoughts of suicide. These are warning signs of depression and treating it may improve your overall health.

Track Your Weight
When you have heart failure, sudden weight gain or a steady increase in weight can mean that your body is retaining too much water and sodium. Set a routine to track your weight and call your doctor if you gain more than three pounds in one day or more than five pounds in one week.
  • Weigh yourself at the same time each morning before eating.
  • Keep a weight chart.

It is critical that you correctly take the medications you are prescribed.
  • Follow the instructions on the label exactly.
  • Take your medication at the same time(s) every day.
  • If you miss a dose:
    • Take it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for your next dose.
    • Do not take a double dose

Report any problems to you doctor, but never stop taking a medication as directed — unless you consult with your doctor first. It is important that you understand which medications you are taking and how they work.
  • ACE (angiotensin-converting-enzyme) inhibitors lower blood pressure and decrease strain on the heart.
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers may be prescribed instead of ACE inhibitors, but they have similar effects.
  • Beta-blockers help lower blood pressure and slow your heart rate.
  • Diuretics, sometimes called water pills, prevent swelling by helping your body get rid of excess water.
  • Digoxin helps strengthen your heart so it pumps more blood with each beat.
  • Aldosterone antagonists alter hormones in a way that decreases strain on the heart.
  • Hydralazine and nitrates lower blood pressure and decrease how hard the heart has to pump.

Lifestyle Changes
After you have been treated for heart failure, making some simple lifestyle changes can play a key role in your recovery.
  • Follow a low-sodium diet.
  • Incorporate regular activity into your daily routine.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Schedule routine follow-up appointments with your doctor.

Warning Signs for Heart Failure Complications
Call your doctor if any flare-ups or symptoms occur after heart failure treatment
  • Swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Dizziness or fatigue
  • Chest pain 
  • Changes in your heartbeat (pulse)
  • Persistent cough
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of appetite


Our physicians at Houston Methodist specialize in managing heart failure at the following convenient locations.