Despite the remarkable advances in cardiovascular therapeutics over the past four decades, little impact has been made on either the incidence or mortality rate of congestive heart failure and it remains a major clinical and public health problem. Recent practice audits have suggested that proven efficacious therapies are not maximally applied in patients with this condition. An approach to the patient with congestive heart failure is presented, emphasizing the two distinct syndromes of systolic dysfunction and diastolic dysfunction. Treatment recommendations are derived from consideration of the underlying pathophysiology and the evidence from randomised clinical trials.
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