What Is Valsartan Used For?
Valsartan for Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood throughout the body. It does not mean that your heart has stopped or that it is about to stop working. It means that your heart is not able to pump blood the way that it should. This can lead to symptoms of CHF that include shortness of breath; swelling of the feet, ankles, or lower legs; and rapid weight gain, to name a few (see Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure for more information).
For people with congestive heart failure, valsartan decreases blood pressure and makes the heart more efficient, which allows more blood to be pumped from the heart. Because of these effects, valsartan has been shown to decrease hospitalizations and loss of life from congestive heart failure. However, valsartan does not cure congestive heart failure.
Valsartan Treatment Following a Heart Attack
A heart attack (also known as a myocardial infarction) is a life-threatening event in which the supply of blood and oxygen to part of the heart is blocked for a long enough period of time that a portion of the heart muscle dies. One of the complications of a heart attack is congestive heart failure. A heart attack can also cause damage to the left side of the heart and cause it to pump blood less efficiently. This is called left ventricular dysfunction. With left ventricular dysfunction, a person does not necessarily have symptoms. This condition will often lead to heart failure.
For people who develop heart failure or left ventricular dysfunction following a heart attack, taking valsartan on a daily basis decreases the chance of death by 16 percent. It is not known exactly how valsartan improves survival following a heart attack.