[Treatment of acute heart failure]

Herz. 2015 Aug;40(5):823-31; quiz 832-4. doi: 10.1007/s00059-015-4336-x.
[Article in German]


Acute heart failure is a symptom complex of heterogeneous etiology. Clinically, it comprises a broad spectrum ranging from hypertensive pulmonary edema in patients with preserved left ventricular systolic function up to cardiogenic shock in patients with severely depressed left ventricular function. The pathophysiology of acute heart failure is based on a mismatch between myocardial pump function and afterload. Besides causal measures, vasodilators and diuretics are the mainstay of therapy. Catecholamines are indicated only when other drugs are unsuccessful. Opioids are often used in clinical practice but should be used cautiously as they are associated with a negative prognosis. Further adjunctive treatment consists of thromboembolism prophylaxis, non-invasive ventilation and in some cases mechanical circulatory support and renal replacement therapy. This article discusses the differential use of these treatment modalities.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage*
  • Catecholamines / administration & dosage*
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Critical Care / methods
  • Diuretics / administration & dosage*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis*
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vasodilator Agents / administration & dosage*


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Catecholamines
  • Diuretics
  • Vasodilator Agents