Survival in congestive heart failure: have we made a difference?

B. G. Firth*, C. W. Yancy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Congestive heart failure (CHF) affects approximately 400,000 new patients each year in the United States, resulting in death in more than 50% within five years, with traditional therapy including digitalis and diuretics. The aging of the population will only serve to aggravate this problem. Surgical treatment of CHF is a viable option in a minority of cases; a total of no more than 2,000 heart transplantation procedures were performed in the United States in 1988. Therefore, if survival is to improve in patients with CHF, effective alternative medical therapy may need to be added to or substituted for more traditional therapy. Vasodilator therapy with the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors captopril and enalapril, or the combination of hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate, improves survival in patients with severe heart failure when added to treatment with digitalis and diuretics. Nevertheless, the mortality rate remains extremely high once this stage of the disease process is reached. The prevention of left ventricular dilatation and remodeling, before the occurrence of overt heart failure, is the focus of much attention. Interventions that limit or interrupt the disease process at an even earlier stage will be necessary to make a major impact on survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue numberSUPPL. 1N
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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