Objective: Heart failure affects large population groups. The understanding of the etiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of heart failure has changed considerably within the last few years. The changes have significant implications for the medical management of the disease, as well as on the ability to provide proper dental treatment for these patients.
Method and Materials: A retrospective observational study of the outcome following dental treatment of 54 patients was performed: 32 with refractory heart failure stage D (study group) and 22 patients at risk for heart failure stages A to C (control group). Dental management of these patients concentrated on the prevention of iatrogenic, dental setting- induced, and precipitating factors of heart failure. To prevent deterioration of patientsí medical condition, a comprehensive, tailored treatment including adequate anxiolysis, close monitoring, profound dental anesthesia, and close follow-up was used. A previously described three-step gradual level protocol (at home, waiting room, and dental chair) was adopted.
Results: All the planned dental procedures were successfully completed. Six patients experienced respiratory distress during treatment, and five patients demonstrated arrhythmias during dental treatment. Only minute differences were found between the groups regarding blood pressure and heart rate.
Conclusion: Use of the suggested protocol facilitated the completion of planned dental treatments for all patients. Thus, providing essential dental treatment for severe heart failure patients with special attention to their medical problems and the use of medications and supporting means to prevent health-compromising situations is recommended.
Keywords: chronic heart failure, medically complex patient