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HealthInfo Aoraki-South Canterbury

Treating heart failure

Heart failure can't be cured, but it can be controlled, through healthy lifestyle measures and medications.

Your GP will advise you on the medication options and start you on an appropriate treatment. This may be one or more medications, and there might need to be a trial period to see what works best for you.

People with heart failure should avoid taking anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen.

Medicines to treat heart failure

Help with treating heart failure

The following people and organisations may be involved in your (or a family member's or friend's) healthcare.


For general practices currently taking new patients, phone Primary and Community Services on (03) 687‑2307.

To find the contact details and fee schedule for a general practice see South Canterbury DHB – Finding a GP.

Timaru Hospital General Medicine Department

The Timaru Hospital General Medicine Department sees people with serious heart problems on referral from a GP. It also provides echocardiograms, electrocardiograms (ECG) and exercise electrocardiograms (exercise ECG).

If you need an ECG or exercise ECG your doctor may refer you to this department to be seen as an outpatient.

Christchurch Hospital Cardiology Department

The Christchurch Hospital Cardiology Department sees people with serious heart problems who are referred from the doctors at Timaru Hospital.

Private heart specialists

You can search for private heart specialists (cardiologists) on Healthpages.

Home help and home care assistance

If you have heart failure and are struggling with everyday activities, or are very sick, your GP may be able to arrange for you to have district nurse visits or domestic assistance from one of these four providers in South Canterbury.

You'll be allocated a provider of your choice. You are able to call NASC and self refer on (03) 687-7114 or email NASC.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Self-care for heart failure

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by GP Liaison, Cardiology. Last reviewed December 2018. Last updated May 2019.

Page reference: 593250

Review key: HIHFA-27478