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Published on 9 February 2012

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Chronic heart failure: current and emerging therapies

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Stuart Russell, MBBS

Specialist Registrar

Wales Heart Research Institute
Cardiff, UK

Robert McArtney, BSc (Pharmacy), FRPharmS

Clinical Pharmacy Specialist

University Hospital of Wales

Cardiff, UK

Zaheer Yousef, BSc, MBBS, MD, FESC, FRCP

Consultant Cardiologist

University Hospital of Wales

Cardiff, UK

Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a complex syndrome that arises when insufficient oxygen and nutrients are circulated by the heart to meet the body’s physiological requirements.

The predominant symptoms are breathlessness, limited exercise capacity and fatigue with clinical signs of fluid retention. The most frequent causes of CHF are ischaemic heart disease, hypertension, and valvular heart disease, while common causes for heart failure decompensation (triggers) include myocardial ischaemia, arrhythmia, infection and poor drug compliance.

Overall, the prevalence of heart failure is 2% of the adult population, but it increases exponentially with age and approaches 10–20% in the elderly (age >75 years).  This review will focus on: (1) established prognostic treatments for chronic heart failure with impaired left ventricular (LV) systolic function; (2) recently published clinical trials on chronic heart failure; and (3) emerging treatments for chronic heart failure.

Abbreviations

ARR



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