Pharmacologic: angiotensin II receptor antagonists
Alone or with other agents in the management of hypertension. Treatment of heart failure (New York Heart Association class II–IV) in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction (ejection fraction ≤40%) (can be used with an ACE inhibitor and beta blocker).
Blocks the vasoconstrictor and aldosterone-secreting effects of angiotensin II at various receptor sites, including vascular smooth muscle and the adrenal glands. Therapeutic Effects: Lowering of blood pressure in patients with hypertension. Reduced cardiovascular death and heart failure-related hospitalizations in patients with heart failure.
Adverse Reactions/Side Effects
CNS: dizziness, fatigue, headache. CV: hypotension, chest pain, edema. F and E: hyperkalemia. GI: abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea. GU: impaired renal function. MS: arthralgia, back pain. Misc: ANGIOEDEMA.
PHYSICAL THERAPY IMPLICATIONS
Examination and Evaluation
Watch for signs of angioedema, including rashes, raised patches of red or white skin (welts), burning/itching skin, swelling in the face, and difficulty breathing. Notify physician immediately if these signs occur.
Assess blood pressure periodically and compare to normal values (See Appendix F) to help determine antihypertensive effects. Report low blood pressure (hypotension), especially if patient experiences dizziness, fatigue, or other symptoms.
Assess signs and symptoms of CHF (dyspnea, rales/crackles, peripheral edema, jugular venous distention, exercise intolerance) to help document whether drug therapy is effective in reducing these symptoms.
Assess peripheral edema using girth measurements, volume displacement, and measurement of pitting edema (See Appendix N). Report increased swelling in feet and ankles or a sudden increase in body weight due to vasodilation or fluid retention.
Assess any back pain or joint pain to rule out musculoskeletal pathology; that is, try to determine if pain is drug induced rather than caused by anatomic or biomechanical problems.
Monitor signs of high plasma potassium levels (hyperkalemia), including bradycardia, fatigue, weakness, numbness, and tingling. Notify physician because severe cases can lead to life-threatening arrhythmias and paralysis.
Assess dizziness that might affect gait, balance, and other functional activities (See Appendix C). Report balance problems and functional limitations to the physician, and caution the patient and family/caregivers to guard against falls and trauma.
Implement aerobic exercise and cardiac conditioning programs to augment drug therapy and maintain or improve cardiovascular pump function in patients with heart failure and other cardiac conditions.
Avoid physical therapy interventions that cause systemic vasodilation (large whirlpool, Hubbard tank). Additive effects of this drug and the intervention may cause a dangerous fall in blood pressure.
To minimize orthostatic hypotension, patient should move slowly when assuming a more upright position.
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