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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Panminerva Medica 2007 September;49(3):109-18

language: English

Progression and management of chronic heart failure

Viganego F., Le Jemtel T. H.

Section of Cardiology, Department of Medicine Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA


Current heart failure therapeutic guidelines are based on a new classification of the progression of the syndrome of chronic heart failure (CHF) that was proposed by ad hoc committees of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA).The new ACC/AHA classification depicts the progression of CHF in 4 stages that are labeled A to D. The 4 stages range from risk factors for CHF (A) to the presence of structural heart disease (B) and the development of symptoms (C). The last stage (D) is one of low cardiac output state despite optimal medical therapy. The merit of this new classification is to encourage tailoring of CHF therapy according to the stage of the syndrome. However, except for the final stage D that has clear therapeutic implications, the first 3 stages A, B and C do not have clear therapeutic implications. Moreover, these first 3 stages may inadvertently delay the diagnosis of CHF and fail to identify the important therapeutic target at each stage of CHF. A revised classification consisting of only 3 stages is proposed. These 3 stages are: 1) Left ventricular (LV) remodeling; 2) clinical heart failure and 3) low cardiac output state. These 3 stages have the advantage of delineating precise therapeutic targets at each stage thereby facilitating the management of patients with CHF by non-experts in the field.

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