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Circulation. 1988 Mar;77(3):607-12.

The relationship between left ventricular systolic function and congestive heart failure diagnosed by clinical criteria.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY 10467.


There is no uniformly accepted clinical definition for congestive heart failure (CHF), although criteria have been published by various groups. There is also no reference standard for CHF, although left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) gives a quantitative assessment of systolic function and is useful in predicting prognosis. To determine the relationship between LVEF and clinically diagnosed CHF, we compared resting LVEF determined by radionuclide ventriculography with diagnosis of CHF by clinical criteria in 407 patients, based on clinical data collected by a cardiology fellow. Of 153 patients with a low LVEF (less than or equal to 0.40), 30 (20%) met none of the criteria for CHF. Conversely, of 204 patients with normal LVEF (greater than or equal to 0.50), 105 (51%) met at least one of the criteria. We conclude that different criteria for CHF will have varying utility depending on the population being examined, and that a combination of clinical features and an objective measure of cardiac performance is needed to diagnose CHF.

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