Diseases and Conditions

Eisenmenger syndrome

Lifestyle and home remedies

If you're diagnosed with Eisenmenger syndrome, you can still lead an active life with proper treatment and precautions.

  • Avoid dehydration. Ask your doctor how much fluid you need each day. You may need more fluids if you're sick, in a heated room or traveling on an airplane.
  • Check with your doctor about exercise restrictions. While you shouldn't perform strenuous exercise or sports, you may be able to do less intense physical activities. Talk to your doctor about what type of physical activity is appropriate for you.
  • Avoid high altitudes. Because of the low oxygen levels at high altitudes, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend against living at an altitude of 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) or higher above sea level. Discuss travel by airplane or to high altitudes with your cardiologist for specific recommendations.
  • Avoid situations that can excessively lower blood pressure. These include sitting in a hot tub or sauna or taking long hot baths or showers. These activities lower your blood pressure and cause fainting or even death. You should also avoid activities that cause prolonged straining, such as lifting heavy objects or weights.
  • Be cautious with any medications and supplements. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications or supplements may increase or decrease blood pressure, increase risk of bleeding or blood clots, or affect kidney function in patients who have Eisenmenger syndrome. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements or medications.
  • Get a flu shot. Avoiding infections is even more important for people with Eisenmenger syndrome. Experts recommend getting a flu shot every year and a pneumonia vaccination every five years.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke and quit using tobacco products. Cigarette smoke and other tobacco products can increases your risk of complications. It's important to avoid recreational drug use too.

Birth control and pregnancy

If you have Eisenmenger syndrome, becoming pregnant poses serious health risks — and can be life threatening — for the mother and baby. It's critical that women who have Eisenmenger syndrome avoid becoming pregnant.

Effective contraceptive methods include vasectomy for the male partner, or long-acting female contraception, including an intrauterine device (IUD) or a contraceptive hormonal implant such as Nexplanon. Tying of the fallopian tubes (tubal ligation) is a very effective form of contraception, but it's less often recommended due to the risks posed by having even minor surgery.

Birth control pills containing estrogen aren't recommended for women who have Eisenmenger syndrome. Estrogen increases the risk of developing blood clots that could potentially block an artery to the heart, brain or lungs. Using only barrier methods, such as condoms or diaphragms, isn't recommended due to the risk of those methods failing.