A nurse might also monitor pulse oximetry for non-invasive assessment of saturation of oxygen molecules in blood hemoglobin to assess how well a patient is doing. Hypoxia might manifest itself as a low pulse ox rate, and appropriate intervention may be taken accordingly.

Part of the management of congestive heart failure lies in the prospect of patient education. Patient education is a critical component to successful outcomes for cardiac patients. No matter the outcome of surgery, a better alternative to the treatment of any disease is prevention (Adomeit et. al, 2001). Congestive heart failure is an example of a disease that can be managed and perhaps even prevented through patient education programs. This is exemplified by the manner in which congestive heart disease works. Edema for example is traditionally responsible for sending cardiac patients to the hospital on average three times per year (Adomeit, et. al, 2001).

A patient education program would allow the patient to learn more about their disease, the importance of taking medication, adhering to a special diet and keeping track of any weight gain (Adomeit, et. al, 2001). Patients who are educated regarding their care may prevent frequent episodes or complications in the future.

Patient education must account for the potential of patients to return to an active, productive and normal lifestyle, and take into consideration that patients will be eating out, working during lunch and participating in any number of other events which might open the door for relapse (Silver & Stevenson, 2000). Psychosocial interventions might also be important to managing congestive heart failure (Antoni, et. al, 2001). Congestive heart failure is a pervasive issue. Currently more than 5 million Americans are living with the condition, with more than 2 million hospitalized each year (Silver & Stevenson, 2000). Patient education should also aspire to reach the 10 or 15 million Americans who are "asymptomatic now but are at high risk for developing heart failure in the near future" (Silver & Stevenson, 2000:7).

There are many risk factors for congenital heart disease including previous myocardial infarctions, high blood pressure, valve disease, infection or heart defects (AMA, 2004). Congestive heart failure results in a heart that still works, but not optimally. Congestive heart failure can lead to many complications including edema and respiratory disorders. Treating congestive heart failure adequately requires lifestyle changes, medical intervention and continual maintenance of a patient's conditions and prospect for well being.

Nursing interventions must adequately address the side effects of this chronic illness, which may include edema, pulmonary disorders and general malaise. Patient education is a crucial element to enabling congestive heart conditions to enable them to function in a realistic manner. The physical manifestations of the illness must be addressed first and foremost, followed by follow up care and education that can help patients lead a normal and active lifestyle.


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