Diuretics as pathogenetic treatment for heart failure
University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA
Abstract: Increased intracardiac filling pressure or congestion causes symptoms and leads to hospital admissions in patients with heart failure, regardless of their systolic function. A history of hospital admission, in turn, predicts further hospitalizations and morbidity, and a higher number of hospitalizations determine higher mortality. Congestion is therefore the driving force of the natural history of heart failure. Congestion is the syndrome shared by heart failure with preserved and reduced systolic function. These two conditions have almost identical morbidity, mortality, and survival because the outcomes are driven by congestion. A small difference in favor of heart failure with preserved systolic function comes from decreased ejection fraction and left ventricular remodeling which is only present in heart failure with decreased systolic function. The magnitude of this difference reflects the contribution of decreased systolic function and ventricular remodeling to the progression of heart failure. The only treatment available for congestion is fluid removal via diuretics, ultrafiltration, or dialysis. It is the only treatment that works equally well for heart failure with reduced and preserved systolic function because it affects congestion, the main pathogenetic feature of the disease. Diuretics are pathogenetic therapy for heart failure.
Keywords: heart failure, diuretics, congestion, systolic function, diastolic function, ejection fraction
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