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Arch Cardiovasc Dis. 2008 May;101(5):361-72. doi: 10.1016/j.acvd.2008.04.008. Epub 2008 Jul 7.

Treatment of heart failure with preserved systolic function.

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Pôle cardiologie et médicine vasculaire, hôpital cardiologique, CHRU de Lille, Lille, France.


Heart failure is a major public health problem. Heart failure with preserved systolic function (HF-PSF) is a common form, which is difficult to diagnose. Results of recent studies show that HF-PSF has a poor prognosis, with an annual survival rate similar to that of heart failure with left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Despite these findings, the therapeutic management of HF-PSF is not clearly defined. We will discuss in this review of the literature the current therapeutic management of HF-PSF, including the role of precipitating factors such as hypertension, myocardial ischaemia and supraventricular arrhythmias, and the main results of epidemiological registries and randomized controlled clinical trials in this disease. Only four large therapeutic trials have assessed the impact of different classes of drugs (digoxin, angiotensin II converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptors type I blockers and beta-blockers) on morbidity and mortality in HF-PSF. Results of these trials are disappointing. Apart from the beta-blockers, the other three classes of drugs did not show benefit on the outcome of the disease. Moreover, the results of the beta-blocker trial are controversial as a mixed population of heart failure with and without preserved systolic function was studied. Finally, the current therapeutic management of patients with HF-PSF is still based on our pathophysiological knowledge: education, low salt diet, diuretics, slowing heart rate and controlling triggering factors. Other large randomized controlled multicenter trials, which may help us in the understanding of HF-PSP and its therapeutic management, are ongoing.

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