Sunday, October 7, 2007

Current understanding of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction

Current understanding of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction

Current Opinion in Cardiology. 22(6):578-585, November 2007

Desai, Akshay

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Purpose of review: A substantial proportion of patients with heart failure have preserved ejection fraction. Though patients with preserved ejection fraction experience a substantial burden of morbidity and mortality, the understanding of heart failure pathophysiology in this group remains incomplete and evidence-based therapeutic options are limited.

Recent findings: The prevalence of heart failure in patients with preserved ejection fraction is increasing and prognosis in this population remains poor despite modern medical therapy. Though diastolic dysfunction is typically present, increasing evidence suggests that extracardiac factors such as renal dysfunction and enhanced central aortic stiffness may play an important role in the development and progression of heart failure symptoms. Results of the first randomized, controlled clinical trials in this population suggest a possible therapeutic role for renin-angiotensin system blockade in reducing heart failure-associated morbidity, but there is still no evidence-supported strategy for reducing mortality in this population.

Summary: Though the epidemiology and impact of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction are increasingly clear, consensus regarding pathophysiology and the optimal therapeutic approach is still lacking. Pending completion of additional therapeutic trials in this population, treatment remains largely empiric and focused on optimizing myocardial performance in diastole by control of blood pressure, restoration or maintenance of sinus rhythm, and relief of volume overload.

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