Medical Treatment of Heart Failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction – Improving Clinical Status and Functional Capacity

Cristiana Vitale, Giuseppe Rosano


A contemporary review of treatments that have been shown to improve functional capacity in patients with Heart Failure and reduced Ejection Fraction (HFrEF).  The improvement of functional capacity is one of the main goals of treatment in patients with HFrEF. In the past, despite significant effects on exercise capacity some drugs (e.g. ibopamine, flosequinan) have shown detrimental effects on long- term outcomes in patients with HFrEF. It is perhaps notable that both of these drugs had shown signals of increased safety concerns during the earlier clinical phases of their development. The challenge is to encourage a timely identification of effective treatments that can enhance functional performance in HF without the more difficult and more expensive path to prove all drugs also reduce mortality. It is valuable to have approved and effective treatments that can do the first without the need for the second in all cases, provided adequate safety can be assured. Ivabradine, trimetazidine, ferric carboxymaltose and diuretics have consistently shown to improve functional capacity and symptoms in patients with HFrEF because of their effect on long term prognosis these drugs should always be considered in patients with heart failure. Diuretics improve functional capacity and should be prescribed in patients with signs and symptoms of congestions. Cardiac resynchronisation therapy improves functional capacity in patients with HFrEF in whom it is appropriately applied (QRS >130/150 msec according to morphology).


Cardiology; Heart Failure; Therapy; Functional Capacity

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