Diagnosis and management of heart failure. Canadian Cardiovascular Society.
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Many of the recommendations presented in this consensus report are summarized in Figure 2. All patients with known or suspected heart failure should undergo a detailed history and physical examination. Other causes for the symptoms and/or clinical signs indicative of heart failure should be excluded. Routine biochemical tests, as well as a standard chest x-ray and ECG, should be performed on all patients with heart failure. Precipitating or aggravating causes of heart failure should be eliminated. Patients with potentially surgically correctable lesions, such as constrictive pericarditis, valvular disease or left ventricular aneurysm, should be referred for cardiological evaluation and the appropriate surgery. Patients with ischemic induced heart failure should be assessed for possible revascularization by either angioplasty or bypass surgery. Pending clinical findings and the degree of systolic or diastolic dysfunction present, determined by noninvasive tests, the panel made recommendations concerning the choice of various therapeutic agents. These clinical guidelines have been developed for practising physicians who manage patients with heart failure. The process by which consensus recommendations were developed by the Canadian Cardiovascular Society was based on the principle that guidelines have the best chance of succeeding if they are developed by those who will be using them. Strategies that ensure physicians are aware of the current guidelines, and that their implementation leads to measurable improvement in the diagnosis and management of patients with heart failure must be developed. Consensus reports represent an ongoing process which is subject to revision when further conclusive evidence is obtained by ongoing and future clinical trials.
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