Fast Five Quiz: Acute Heart Failure Presentation and Diagnosis

Arnold S. Baas, MD; Jeff Hsu, MD


May 12, 2020

Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of heart failure have been issued by the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association (ACCF/AHA), the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA), and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Each recommends two-dimensional echocardiographic and Doppler flow ultrasonographic studies in patients with suspected heart failure, which may reveal ventricular dysfunction and/or valvular abnormalities.

Chest radiography (posterior-anterior, lateral) is also recommended because it may show pulmonary congestion, an enlarged cardiac silhouette, or other potential causes of the patient's symptoms.

Maximal exercise testing with or without respiratory gas exchange and/or blood oxygen saturation is recommended to assess cardiac and pulmonary function with activity after clinical stabilization. Both the inability to walk more than short distances and a decreased peak oxygen consumption indicate more severe disease.

Coronary arteriography is recommended for patients with a history of exertional angina or suspected ischemic left ventricular dysfunction, which may result in findings of coronary artery disease.

For additional information, refer to the guidelines from the ACCF/AHA, HFSA, and ESC.

Learn more about recommended diagnostic procedures for acute heart failure.

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