Heart Failure: Patient Selection and Treatment
February 01, 2007
ABSTRACT: Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor therapy is recommended for all patients with heart failure (HF) and a reduced ejection fraction. It is generally initiated in the hospital at low doses as inotropic therapy is tapered. Angiotensin II receptor blockers may be a suitable alternative for patients who cannot tolerate ACE inhibitors. For patients who cannot tolerate either class of drug, a combination of hydralazine and a nitrate is recommended. ß-Blockers are first-line therapy for patients with current or previous symptoms of HF and reduced left ventricular function, as well as all patients hospitalized for HF. An aldosterone antagonist may be added to the regimen of patients with moderately severe to severe symptoms and reduced ejection fraction whose renal function and potassium concentration can be monitored.