Definition and Classification of Heart Failure

Mitja Lainscak, Ilaria Spoletini, Andrew Coats

Abstract


A review of the definition and classification of heart failure, updated since the recent 2016 European Society of Cardiology guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure. Heart failure is defined by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) as a clinical syndrome characterised by symptoms such as shortness of breath, persistent coughing or wheezing, ankle swelling and fatigue, that may be accompanied by the following signs: jugular venous pressure, pulmonary crackles, increased heart rate and peripheral oedema. However, these signs may not be present in the early stages and in patients treated with diuretics. When apparent, they are due to a structural and/or functional cardiac abnormality, leading to systolic and/or diastolic ventricular dysfunction, resulting in a reduced cardiac output and/or elevated intra- cardiac pressures at rest or during stress. According to the most recent ESC guidelines the initial evaluation of patients with suspected heart failure should include a clinical history and physical examination, laboratory assessment, chest radiography, and electrocardiography. Echocardiography can confirm the diagnosis. Beyond detecting myocardial abnormality, other impairments such as abnormalities of the valves, pericardium, endocardium, heart rhythm, and conduction may be found. The identification of the underlying aetiology is pivotal for the diagnosis of heart failure and its treatment. The authors review the definitions and classifications of heart failure.

 


Keywords


Heart Failure; Guidelines; Classification; Definition

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17987/icfj.v10i0.419

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