Heart Failure


Heart failure is a medical condition in which reduced function of the heart causes symptoms. The commonest symptoms are shortness of breath and tiredness or fatigue.

Keywords: cardiac failure; shortness of breath; heart function; diagnosis; treatment; pathology

Figure 1.

Heart failure – some definitions.

Figure 2.

Causes of heart failure.

Figure 3.

Causes of restrictive cardiomyopathy.

Figure 4.

Causes of dilated cardiomyopathy.

Figure 5.

Underlying causes of chronic heart failure due to the myocardium.

Figure 6.

Spirals of heart failure.

Figure 7.

Origin of symptoms in chronic heart failure.

Figure 8.

Drugs and time in the treatment of coronary heart disease (CHD).

Figure 9.

Drugs in the treatment of chronic heart failure.

Figure 10.

Options in the treatment of heart failure.

Figure 11.

Management of heart failure.


Further Reading

Baig MK, Mahon N, McKenna WJ et al. (1998) The pathophysiology of advanced heart failure. American Heart Journal 135: S216–230.

CIBIS‐II Investigators and Committees (1999) Cardiac Insufficiency Bisoprolol Study II (CIBIS‐II): a randomised trial. Lancet 353: 9–13.

Cowie MR, Mosterd A, Wood DA et al. (1997) The epidemiology of heart failure. European Heart Journal 18: 208–225.

Digitalis Investigation Group (1997) The effect of digoxin on mortality and morbidity in patients with heart failure. New England Journal of Medicine 336: 525–533.

Ho KK, Anderson KM, Kannel WB, Grossman W and Levy D (1993) Survival after the onset of congestive heart failure in Framingham Heart Study subjects. Circulation 88: 107–115.

Ho KK, Pinsky JL, Kannel WB and Levy D (1993) The epidemiology of heart failure: the Framingham Study. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 22: 6A–13A.

Johnson LL (1994) Radionuclide assessment of ventricular function. Current Problems in Cardiology 19: 589–635.

McMurray JJ, Petrie MC, Murdoch DR and Davie AP (1998) Clinical epidemiology of heart failure, public and private health burden. European Heart Journal 19(supplement P): P9–16.

Mann DL (1999) Mechanisms and models in heart failure: a combinatorial approach. Circulation 100: 999–1008.

Poole‐Wilson PA (1996) Chronic heart failure: definition, epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestations and investigations. In: Julian DG, Camm AJ, Fox KM, Hall RJC, Poole‐Wilson PA (eds) Diseases of the Heart, pp. 467–481. London: WB Saunders.

Poole‐Wilson PA, Colucci WS, Massie BM, Chatterjee K and Coats AJS (eds) (1997) Heart Failure. New York: Churchill Livingstone.

SOLVD Investigators (1992) Effect of enalapril on mortality and the development of heart failure in symptomatic patients with reduced left ventricular ejection fractions. New England Journal of Medicine 327: 685–691.

Taylor AM and Pennell DJ (1996) Recent advances in cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Current Opinion in Cardiology 11: 635–642.

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Poole‐Wilson, Philip A, Sharma, Rakesh, and Bolger, Aidan(Apr 2001) Heart Failure. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002297]