Congestive heart failure: Diagnosis, pathophysiology, therapy, and implications for respiratory care

Michael S. Figueroa, Jay I. Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a common clinical disorder that results in pulmonary vascular congestion and reduced cardiac output. CHF should be considered in the differential diagnosis of any adult patient who presents with dyspnea and/or respiratory failure. The diagnosis of heart failure is often determined by a careful history and physical examination and characteristic chestradiograph findings. The measurement of serum brain natriuretic peptide and echocardiography have substantially improved the accuracy of diagnosis. Therapy for CHF is directed at restoring normal cardiopulmonary physiology and reducing the hyperadrenergic state. The cornerstone of treatment is a combination of an angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor and slow titration of a β blocker. Patients with CHF are prone to pulmonary complications, including obstructive sleep apnea, pulmonary edema, and pleural effusions. Continuous positive airway pressure and noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation benefit patients in CHF exacerbations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-412
Number of pages10
JournalRespiratory care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Cheyne-Stokes respiration
  • Diastolic dysfunction
  • Heart failure
  • Noninvasive ventilation
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Respiratory failure
  • Systolic dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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