Pediatric Heart Failure Medical Management

Heart Failure and Recovery Program

Medical management of heart failure in children can take many forms.

An enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) may not pump blood effectively and can lead to congestive heart failure. Although the heart may improve over time, most children with an enlarged heart need lifelong treatment with medicine.

Managing heart failure includes proper diet and exercise, along with medicine.

Medical management of heart failure conditions

Diet to Manage Heart Failure

Doctors often suggest changes to your child's diet, such as:

  • Reducing salt intake.
  • Eating a healthy balance of more fruits and vegetables.
  • Staying away from foods high in fat and cholesterol.

For infants whose heart failure impairs normal feeding, doctors may insert stomach tubes to assure the baby gets enough nutrition.


Doctors make exercise suggestions based on your child's level of symptoms and physical abilities to help promote circulation.

Heart Failure Medicines

  • Diuretics can increase urination to help remove excess fluid from the body.
  • Beta blockers can slow down the heart rate to help the heart function more effectively.
  • Digoxin can help manage heart rhythm and improve the strength of contraction.
  • ACE inhibitors can help lower blood pressure, which reduces the workload on the heart.

Contact Children's Hospital About Heart Failure Treatment

Contact the Heart Failure Program at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at 412-692-5540 to learn more about our treatments. We also offer consults and second opinions.