Patients with acute decompensated heart failure are usually critically ill and require immediate treatment. However, most are not volume overloaded. Emergency department (ED) management is based on rapid initiation of noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation and aggressive titration of nitrates. Afterload reduction with an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor can be considered. A diuretic should not be administered before optimal preload and afterload reduction has been achieved. Short-term inotropic therapy can be considered in select patients with cardiogenic shock and acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) who fail to respond to standard therapy.
Keywords: Acute decompensated heart failure; Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors; Congestive heart failure; Diuretics; Inotropes; Nitrates; Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation.
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