Echocardiography in Acute Heart Failure: Current Perspectives

Lampros Papadimitriou, Vasiliki V Georgiopoulou, Smadar Kort, Javed Butler, Andreas P Kalogeropoulos
Journal of Cardiac Failure 2016, 22 (1): 82-94
In contrast to chronic heart failure (HF), the use of echocardiography in acute HF (AHF) is less well defined, both in clinical practice and in clinical trials. Current guidelines recommend the utility of echocardiography as an adjunct diagnostic tool in the clinical setting of new-onset or decompensated HF. However, despite its unique advantages as the only practical imaging modality in AHF, echocardiography poses unique challenges in this setting. Data from early-phase clinical studies and trials provide evidence that echocardiographic end points can be clinically meaningful surrogate end points as a means to track response to treatment in AHF; however, the optimal timing and selection of echocardiographic measures is under active investigation. In addition, despite a number of studies indicating that certain echocardiographic measures of cardiac function are predictive of post-discharge prognosis, the role of echocardiography as a tool for patient classification and risk determination in AHF is less well defined. Importantly, it is unclear whether echocardiography can be used to phenotype and select AHF patients for interventions. In this article, we (1) appraise the current evidence for use of echocardiographic measures in AHF, (2) identify knowledge gaps regarding optimal use of echocardiography in AHF, and (3) assess the evidence for echocardiography as a prognosis determination and risk stratification tool in AHF.

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