Chapter

Diagnosing heart failure

Henry J. Dargie and Theresa A. McDonagh

in Oxford Textbook of Heart Failure

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199577729
Published online July 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199697809 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199577729.003.0017

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Diagnosing heart failure

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It is often said that heart failure (HF) is not a diagnosis per se but aclinical syndrome consisting of a constellation of symptoms andsigns, which are ultimately due to cardiac dysfunction. Neverthelessit is important to diagnose the presence of HF accurately in orderto facilitate the general and specific treatments that can modify itstraditionally poor outlook.The diagnosis of HF involves three distinct yet related phases. First there is the confirmation that the patient has HF, secondlythe nature of the underlying cardiac dysfunction needs to be determined,and thirdly the actual aetiology of the cardiac dysfunction should be identified. Following confirmation of the diagnosis of HF some basic diagnostictests must also be performed to determine the starting statusof key parameters prior to initiation of therapy and to establish thepresence of comorbidities.

Chapter.  2785 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine

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