Myocardial dysfunction eventuating in systolic and diastolic pump function abnormalities is a consequence of a wide variety of cardiac diseases. The symptoms that develop in this syndrome appear to be related as much to peripheral and neurohormonal mechanisms as to the underlying pathological and cardiac functional abnormality. Relief of symptoms, slowing of the progression of the cardiac functional abnormality, and prolongation of life provide the major agenda for the physician faced with the management of these patients. Judicious use of vasodilators, diuretics, digoxin, dietary therapy, and exercise therapy can relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life in most patients suffering from this syndrome. Recent evidence that vasodilator drugs can prolong life now provides the physician with further justification for routine use of this class of compounds. The eventual solution to the high mortality in this common disease process may be prevention of the development of overt heart failure by more prompt recognition and early treatment of the signs of ventricular dysfunction. This possibility must await the completion of current and proposed clinical trials.
- Copyright © 1988 by American Heart Association