Fast Five Quiz: Causes of Heart Failure

Yasmine S. Ali, MD; Jeffrey J. Hsu, MD


December 13, 2022

The causes of HF can be clinically classified into four broad categories: underlying causes, fundamental causes, precipitating causes, and the genetics of cardiomyopathy. Dilated, arrhythmogenic right ventricular, and restrictive cardiomyopathies are among the genetic causes of HF, per European Society of Cardiology clinical practice guidelines.

Structural abnormalities (congenital or acquired) that affect the peripheral and coronary arterial circulation, pericardium, myocardium, or cardiac valves can be an underlying cause of HF. These abnormalities lead to heightened hemodynamic burden or myocardial or coronary insufficiency.

Fundamental causes include biochemical and physiologic mechanisms, through which myocardial contraction is impaired by either an increased hemodynamic burden or a reduction in oxygen delivery to the myocardium.

Overt HF may be precipitated by progression of an underlying heart disease (eg, further narrowing of a stenotic aortic valve or mitral valve), medications (chemotherapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that alter the homeostasis of patients with HF, or other conditions, such as anemia.

Learn more about the causes of HF.


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