JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW
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Early emergency management of acute decompensated heart failure.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) is characterized by a complex spectrum of pathophysiology that emerges as a common clinical disease state, which manifests as a failure of the circulation to provide for the needs of the body systems. Whereas ADHF is often characterized by the findings of pulmonary congestion and dyspnea, a variety of clinical presentations are possible, with each requiring differing management strategies. This review examines the approach of the four-quadrant clinical profile for differentiation of the ADHF patient during the emergent resuscitative phase of the decompensation.

RECENT FINDINGS: Clinical and diagnostic information can be used to determine the relative degree of pulmonary congestion and peripheral tissue perfusion in patients suspected of ADHF. This information can be used in a four-quadrant approach to differentiate patients into pathophysiologic categories. These profiles can then be translated into management strategies from a physiology based perspective in which the specific mechanisms of the failure are targeted.

SUMMARY: ADHF can present in a variety of clinical forms in the emergent setting. Categorization of the ADHF patient according to their individual hemodynamic profile can assist in management decisions during the emergent resuscitative phase of the decompensation based upon an approach that targets causative pathophysiologic mechanisms.

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