May 1st 2003
ABSTRACT: Recent studies, although suggestive, do not yet support the routine use of angiotensin II receptor blockers in combination with angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). For CHF patients in normal sinus rhythm, consider digoxin when a regimen of diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and β-blockers at optimal dosages does not relieve symptoms completely. Anticoagulation may be warranted in CHF patients with atrial fibrillation, previous embolic events, severely reduced systolic performance, or potential chamber clots. β-Blockers are indicated for patients with mild to severe CHF, unless there is a specific contraindication, and therapy should be initiated once euvolemia has been achieved. Avoid NSAIDs and cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors in patients with CHF because the prostaglandin-blocking properties of these agents may promote fluid retention.