Management of chronic heart failure in primary care: what evidence do we have for heart failure with preserved systolic function?
Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) is a debilitating illness commonly encountered in primary care. Its prevalence in developing countries is rising as a result of an ageing population, and an escalating epidemic of hypertension, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. CHF can be specifically diagnosed as Heart Failure with Reduced Systolic Function (HF-RSF) or Heart Failure with Preserved Systolic Function (HF-PSF). This paper illustrates a common presentation of HF-PSF in primary care; and critically appraises the evidence in support of its diagnosis, prognosis and management. Regardless of the specific diagnosis, long term management of CHF is intricate as it involves a complex interplay between medical, psychosocial, and behavioural factors. Hence, there is a pressing need for a multidisciplinary team management of CHF in primary care, and this usually takes place within the broader context of an integrated chronic disease management programme. Primary care physicians are ideally suited to lead multidisciplinary teams to ensure better co-ordination, continuity and quality of care is delivered for patients with chronic conditions across time and settings. Given the rising epidemic of cardiovascular risk factors in the Malaysian population, preventive strategies at the primary care level are likely to offer the greatest promise for reducing the growing burden of CHF.
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