Alison Duncan

in Oxford Textbook of Heart Failure

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199577729
Published online July 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199697809 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks


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Heart failure (HF) is a complex syndrome that can result from anystructural or functional cardiac disorder that impairs the ability ofthe heart to function as a pump to support a physiological circulation.The most common cause of HF in the United Kingdom iscoronary artery disease (CAD); other aetiologies include hypertension, atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathies, valvular heart disease,pericardial disease, and intracardiac shunts. Transthoracicechocardiography has a decisive role in the diagnosis, treatment,and follow-up of patients with HF. Indeed, its importance wasunderscored in the UK 2003 NICE Guidelines for Heart Failure, and more recently in the American College of Cardiology/AmericanHeart Association (ACC/AHA) guidelines for the diagnosis andmanagement of HF, where echocardiography was endorsed as ‘thesingle most useful diagnostic test in the evaluation of patients with heart failure…’. Echocardiography utilizes ultrasound which hasno known adverse biological effects, is noninvasive, and is a relativelylow-cost imaging modality. The use of echocardiography inthe diagnosis, therapeutic management, and serial follow-up of theincreasing number of patients with HF has therefore potentially large health benefits with relatively low patient cost.

Chapter.  11418 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine

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