Newer Therapeutic Tools in Cardiovascular Disease

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THE most important advances in the treatment of cardiovascular disease in the last several years have been the use of the low-sodium diet in congestive heart failure, improvements in the management of acute myocardial infarction and its complications, the development of effective prophylactic measures for rheumatic fever, the use of antibiotics in the treatment and prevention of bacterial endocarditis, the surgical correction or alleviation of certain congenital cardiovascular anomalies and acquired valvular lesions, and the development of technics for aorta-iliac and segmental arterial grafting. In addition, significant progress has been made in the medical management of essential hypertension, and a number of drugs of secondary importance have been introduced for use in other cardiovascular problems. As a result, the over-all prognosis of cardiovascular disease has been greatly improved, and many patients now remain comfortable and self-supporting for considerably longer periods than heretofore.

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure, the most common cause of death in patients who have organic heart disease, can be treated more effectively today than ever before and can be prevented from recurring for longer lengths of time. The principal factor responsible for this improvement has been the addition of the low-sodium diet to the older and well-established measures of drug therapy. Formerly, it was customary to strictly limit the fluid intake of patients suffering from cardiac decompensation and pay no attention to the amount of salt in the food. This was changed entirely about 15 years ago as a result of the demonstration that sodium retention. . .



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