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Feature Article

Diagnosis of heart failure

CARMINE G DE PASQUALE, RALPH G AUDEHM

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© DEEPAGOPI2011/STOCK.ADOBE.COM
© DEEPAGOPI2011/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Abstract

Heart failure is a complex clinical syndrome that presents a difficult diagnostic challenge for practitioners. Index of suspicion for heart failure and a clear understanding of the condition are crucial for timely and correct diagnosis and prompt provision of effective treatment. 

Key Points

  • Heart failure (HF) is categorised as HF with reduced ejection fraction (formerly known as systolic HF) or HF with preserved ejection fraction (formerly known as diastolic HF).
  • HF is diagnosed clinically but needs to be confirmed with further testing.
  • Correct and timely diagnosis is important, as prompt treatment can save lives and improve quality of life.
  • An echocardiogram is the most important investigation in HF; it will confirm the diagnosis and inform further management strategies.
  • In patients for whom the diagnosis is unclear, biomarker analysis with B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) or N-terminal pro-BNP can be useful.

Figures

© DEEPAGOPI2011/STOCK.ADOBE.COM
© DEEPAGOPI2011/STOCK.ADOBE.COM