A large number of chronic heart failure patients escape from the benefits of neurohormonal blockade only to transit into a discouragingly miserable state of what the physician often refers to as end-stage heart failure. Conceptually, the designation of end-stage as a description of a clinical scenario implies pessimism concerning recourse to a therapeutic avenue. A variety of surgical therapeutic techniques that take advantage of the law of Laplace, designed to effectively restore the cardiac shape from a spherical, mechanically inefficient pump to a more elliptical, structurally sound organ are now being employed. Additionally, the field of mechanical device implantation is surging ahead at a rapid pace. The weight of evidence regarding mechanical unloading using assist devices suggests that hemodynamic restoration is accompanied by regression of cellular hypertrophy, normalization of the neuroendocrine axis, improved expression of contractile proteins, enhanced cellular respiratory control, and decreases in markers of apoptosis and cellular stress. Thus, these lines of data point toward discarding the notion of end-stage heart failure. We are at a new crossroad in our quest to tackle chronic heart failure. It is our contention that the use of antiremodeling strategies, including device approaches, will soon signal the end of end-stage heart failure.
Copyright 2002 CHF, Inc.