Inotropic therapy in patients with advanced heart failure. A clinical consensus statement from the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology

Eur J Heart Fail. 2023 Apr;25(4):457-468. doi: 10.1002/ejhf.2814. Epub 2023 Mar 10.


This clinical consensus statement reviews the use of inotropic support in patients with advanced heart failure. The current guidelines only support use of inotropes in the setting of acute decompensated heart failure with evidence of organ malperfusion or shock. However, inotropic support may be reasonable in other patients with advanced heart failure without acute severe decompensation. The clinical evidence supporting use of inotropes in these situations is reviewed. Particularly, patients with persistent congestion, systemic hypoperfusion, or advanced heart failure with need for palliation, and specific situations relevant to implantation of left ventricular assist devices or heart transplantation are discussed. Traditional and novel drugs with inotropic effects are discussed and use of guideline-directed therapy during inotropic support is reviewed. Finally, home inotropic therapy is described, and palliative care and end-of-life aspects are reviewed in relation to management of ongoing inotropic support (including guidance for maintenance and weaning of chronic inotropic therapy support).

Keywords: Advanced heart failure; Cardiorenal syndrome; Inotrope; Mechanical circulatory support; Palliation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiology*
  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Heart Failure* / drug therapy
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Cardiovascular Agents