Heart failure (HF) is a difficult-to-treat clinical syndrome with a chronic progressive course and a poor prognosis.
Pathophysiologically, HF is characterized by the inability of the heart to pump blood at a sufficient rate to meet the needs of the body, resulting in clinical signs and symptoms of shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, and peripheral oedema.
There are many causes of HF, but the most common are arterial hypertension and coronary heart disease.
The goals of treatment of HF are to relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, prevent disease progression, and improve survival.
During the last decades, the treatment of this condition has been profoundly changed by the introduction of new molecules, which have moved from experimental use to clinical practice. Currently, treatment of HF can often result in a significant improvement of symptoms, as well as in reduced morbidity and mortality. An accurate and timely diagnosis, with determination of the type and severity of HF, should be considered a key element for the success of the treatment; it is also necessary to investigate the aetiology of the underlying heart disease, as well as any comorbidities that can adversely affect heart function. Treatment must be individualized for each patient, and chosen based on the severity of the clinical condition. Guidelines on heart failure focus on an “overall” treatment strategy, where general measures are associated with drug therapy.