The Resort Treatment Of Chronic Heart Disease

In line with the continued growing popularity of special resorts and

special cures for different types of disease, resort or sanatorium

treatment for chronic heart disease has grown to considerable

popularity during the last twenty years or more. The most popular of

these resorts owe their success to the personality of the

physicians, who have made heart disease a life study.

Perhaps the most noted of these resorts for the cure of heart

disease is that at Bad Nauheim, Germany, which was inaugurated by

Dr. August Schott and Prof. Theodore Schott, and is now conducted by

the latter, Dr. August Schott having died about fifteen years ago.

Hundreds of patients and many physicians have testified to the value

and benefit of the treatment carried out at this institution.

The method of treatment largely employed at these heart resorts is

to withdraw all, or nearly all, of the active drugs that the patient

may be taking, and to substitute physical and physiologic methods of

therapy. These include bathing, regulation of the diet, and

exercise. This exercise consists of two varieties: exercise of the

muscles against the resistance of an attendant, and exercise by

walking on inclined planes or up hills. The treatment is aimed at

chronic heart disease, to develop a greater cardiac reserve

strength; the whole object of the treatment is to strengthen the

myocardium, either in conditions of its debility or in conditions of

diminished compensation in valvular disease. Any treatment that will

develop a reserve heart strength to be called on in emergencies,

more or less similar to the reserve strength of a normal heart,

tends to prolong the patient's life and health.

Patients with acute heart failure or acute loss of compensation,

with more or less serious edemas, should rarely take the risk of

traveling any distance to be treated at an institution. As a general

rule they are better treated for a few weeks or months at home.

After the broken compensation is repaired, a reserve strength of the

heart may well be developed by a visit to one of these institutions,

if the patient can afford it.

The Oertel treatment consists chiefly in diminishing the fluids

taken into the body, and in graduated mountain climbing. By

diminishing the fluids taken, the work of the heart is diminished,

as the blood vessels are not overfilled and may be even underfilled.

The diet is carefully regulated with the object of removing all

superfluous fat from the body. The third leg of the tripod of the

Oertel treatment is the gradually increasing hill and mountain

climbing to educate the heart by graded muscular training to become

strong, perfectly compensatory, and later to develop a reserve

strength. This particular cure is especially adapted to the obese,

who have weakened heart muscles.

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