Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction: Persistent Diagnosis, Therapeutic Enigma

Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep. 2011 Oct;5(5):440-449. doi: 10.1007/s12170-011-0184-2.


Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF) is increasing in prevalence with the aging of the population, and morbidity and mortality rates are comparable to that of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFREF). The diagnosis can be difficult to make, especially in older adults, stemming from the presence of multiple comorbid illnesses with confounding symptoms. New diagnostic tools have resulted in guidelines proposed to define and diagnose HFPEF. Recent literature focusing on the pathophysiology underlying this disease suggests multiple mechanisms are involved in the generation of the phenotype, such as abnormal relaxation and ventricular-vascular coupling, chronotropic incompetence, volume overload, and redistribution and /or endothelial dysfunction. Currently, no clinically proven treatments are shown to decrease morbidity and mortality in this population; however, there may be a novel multidisciplinary and multistage treatment strategy that can be studied to address this complex disease which incorporates pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapeutics.