What is Inotropic Therapy? | Conditions & Tests | MedStar Health

Inotropic therapy is an infusion of medication that changes your heart’s calcium level, which helps make your heart muscle contract. The therapy can be used to slow your heart rate for better control of arrhythmias, or it can trigger stronger muscle contractions to relieve symptoms from conditions such as heart failure.

Our Advanced Heart Failure Program is one of the select programs that uses inotropic therapy as an in-home management for patients with end-stage heart failure. We also integrate our treatment with palliative care services to provide you with personalized pain management during treatment.

What to expect during inotropic therapy

Your doctor will provide you with any diet changes and exercise recommendations before you begin the therapy. When you start the therapy, you’ll be admitted to the hospital for observation. The medication will be delivered through an IV in your arm or hand. An infusion pump will provide the correct dosage at specific times.

When you return home, you will be monitored by a home health nurse, who will watch for symptoms and work with you to make dosage adjustments as needed.

Stop the infusion and call your doctor right away if you experience side effects such as:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pain near the IV
  • Fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Pump malfunction


Advanced heart failure

Advanced heart failure is a form of heart failure that has progressed to the most serious stage.


Cardiomyopathy is a disease that weakens or changes the structure of your heart muscle, which makes it difficult for your heart to fill with and pump blood.

Heart failure

Heart failure occurs when your heart doesn’t fill with enough blood or doesn’t pump enough blood throughout your body.


Cardiac catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.

Chest X-ray

Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and chest wall.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.

Our locations

Distance from Change locationEnter your location

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital

5601 Loch Raven Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21239

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

9000 Franklin Square Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar Harbor Hospital

3001 S. Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Have general questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net. If you have clinically-specific questions, please contact your physician’s office.