Chapter

Investigation of patients with suspected chronic heart failure

Ninian N. Lang and David E. Newby

in Chronic Heart Failure

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199542338
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191740053 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199542338.003.0003

Series: Oxford Cardiology Library

Investigation of patients with suspected chronic heart failure

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Heart failure may be suspected on the basis of symptoms and signs but requires the use of objective tests to confirm the diagnosis.

As well as confirming the diagnosis, the assessment of patients with suspected heart failure should also define its severity, aetiology, and any precipitants of decompensation.

The electrocardiogram has powerful negative predictive value in patients with suspected heart failure, whilst the measurement of atrial or brain natriuretic peptides is gaining favour as a ‘rule-out’ blood test.

The echocardiogram remains the most important first-line test in patients with suspected heart failure although other imaging modalities are often indicated, including cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and cardiac catheterisation.

Chapter.  3252 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine

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