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Lessons from the management of chronic heart failure


In seeking to implement evidence based medicine for the patient with heart failure occurring after a myocardial infarction (MI), much can be learnt from the long road to delivery of best care for the patient with chronic heart failure (CHF) caused by left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Both patient groups are part of the same cardiovascular continuum. A mass of evidence has accrued for the beneficial effects of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, β blockers, and aldosterone antagonists on both morbidity and mortality across a wide spectrum of patient severity. This evidence has informed the development of management guidelines, although registry data showed that uptake of treatments remained low, leading to research focused on how heart failure care could be delivered more effectively. This has resulted in a range of heart failure management programmes, many of which have been shown to reduce hospital admission rates and to improve adherence with treatments. Multidisciplinary heart failure management programmes that span primary and secondary care are now considered a routine “standard” to be aspired to in delivering effective CHF care. Applying such an approach to the care of the post-MI heart failure patient should be equally important.

  • ACE, angiotensin converting enzyme
  • CAPRICORN, carvedilol post-infarct survival control in left ventricular dysfunction
  • CHAMP, cardiac hospitalisation atherosclerosis management program
  • CHF, chronic heart failure
  • ESC, European Society of Cardiology
  • GRACE, global registry of acute coronary events
  • IMPACT, initiation management predischarge: process for assessment of carvedilol therapy in heart failure
  • MI, myocardial infarction
  • chronic heart failure
  • left ventricular systolic dysfunction
  • myocardial infarction

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