Treatment of the African-American patient with congestive heart failure

Sandeep A. Kamath*, Clyde W. Yancy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


African Americans have a higher burden of cardiovascular disease than white Americans, including a higher prevalence of heart failure. In addition, heart failure in African Americans conforms to a more malignant natural history. Hypertension is most often cited as the sole etiology of heart failure in African Americans. Most of the major trials of pharmacotherapy for the management of chronic heart failure have failed to include significant numbers of African-American patients. Based on the available evidence, there is no reason to withhold standard evidence-based medical therapy for heart failure. Even though there is much controversy as to the efficacy of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and β blockers in African Americans, in the absence of definitive data they should be used. Recently, the combination of isosorbide dinitrate and hydralazine has been demonstrated to improve survival in African Americans with New York Heart Association class III and IV heart failure, and represents an adjunctive treatment option when added to standard medical therapy consisting of ACE inhibitors, β blockers, digoxin, diuretics, and aldosterone antagonists. Emerging evidence suggests that this therapy may be targeting a novel mechanism of heart failure progression (ie, nitric oxide bioavailability) found in African Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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