NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. – “There may be more to acute heart failure than meets the eye,” Hani N. Sabbah, Ph.D., said in a discussion during the annual meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America.
What remains unclear about acute decompensation episodes in patients with chronic heart failure is whether these events themselves exert a detrimental effect or if decompensation episodes merely flag patients in the worst clinical condition and are part of the natural history of worsening heart failure, said Dr. Sabbah, professor and director of cardiovascular research at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
The importance of acute heart failure decompensations seems comparable to acute MIs, episodes in which incremental declines in heart-muscle function contribute to additional long-term worsening of heart failure, said Dr. Jay N. Cohn, another member of a discussion panel that also included Dr. Sidney Goldstein and Dr. Prakash Deedwania.
The risk from acute decompensations of heart failure highlights the importance of taking steps to cut the incidence of decompensations, said Dr. Cohn. Usual triggers of decompensation that could be targets for prevention are uncontrolled blood pressure and dietary indiscretions, Dr. Deedwania noted. Troponin leaks, a marker of myocardial-cell death, constitute another indicator of acute decompensation that may offer further insight into how to manage these episodes, he said.
Dr. Goldstein had no disclosures. Dr. Deedwania had no disclosures. Dr. Cohn receives royalties from Arbor Pharmaceuticals related to his work on hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate. Dr. Sabbah is a consultant to Boston Scientific and an advisor to BioControl Medical and he has received research grants from both companies.
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