Congestive heart failure is a common syndrome with high mortality in its advanced stages. Current therapy includes the use of vasodilator drugs, which have been shown to prolong life. Despite current therapy, mortality remains high in patients with severe heart failure. Potent new inotropic vasodilators have improved ventricular performance but have not prolonged life in patients with end-stage heart failure. Serious arrhythmias are implicated in the sudden deaths of 30% to 40% of patients with severe heart failure, but the benefits of antiarrhythmic therapy have not been established. Upcoming trials will address this question. Ventricular remodeling and progressive dilatation after myocardial infarction commonly lead to congestive heart failure; early unloading of the ventricule with an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor may attenuate these events. These findings support the concept that angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors may be useful in managing heart failure of all degrees of severity, including left ventricular dysfunction and end-stage heart failure. Part of the damage that may occur with acute myocardial infarction, particularly in this era of thrombolysis therapy, is reperfusion injury, which may be mediated by oxygen-derived free radicals. Better knowledge of the mechanisms and treatment of myocardial infarction, the leading cause of congestive heart failure, may help prevent or attenuate the development of this syndrome.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Western Journal of Medicine|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1991|