Factors related to outcome in heart failure with a preserved (or normal) left ventricular ejection fraction

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Heart failure with a preserved ejection faction (HFpEF) is a growing and expensive cause of heart failure (HF) affecting particularly the elderly. It differs in substantial ways in addition to the normal left ventricular ejection fraction, from the more easily recognized form of heart failure with a reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF or ‘systolic heart failure’) and unlike HFrEF there have been little advances in treatment. In part, this relates to the complexity of the pathophysiology and identifying the correct targets. In HFpEF, there appears to be widespread stiffening of the vasculature and the myocardium affecting ventricular function (both systolic and diastolic), impeding ventricular suction, and thus early diastolic filling leading to breathlessness on exertion and later atrial failure and fibrillation. Left ventricular ejection fraction tends to gradually decline and some evolve into HFrEF. Most patients also have a mixture of several co-morbidities including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, poor renal function, lack of fitness, and often poor social conditions. Therefore, many factors may influence outcome in an individual patient. In this review, the epidemiology, possible causation, pathophysiology, the influence of co-morbidities and some of the many potential predictors of outcome will be considered.

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