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New Chronic Heart Failure Guidelines


Updated Guidelines represent significant developments in terms of content, format and presentation of the latest advances in Chronic Heart Failure

Sophia Antipolis, France, 19 May 2005: Today the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) releases its new Guidelines on Chronic Heart Failure1, published in the latest edition of the European Heart Journal, official journal of the ESC and Europe’s leading cardiology journal.

The Guidelines offer up to date practical recommendations on the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of Chronic Heart Failure and have been specifically formulated for use in clinical practice, as well as in epidemiological surveys and clinical trials, featuring a new chapter on the diagnosis of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (diastolic heart failure).

Professor Kenneth Dickstein, of Stavanger University Hospital, Norway, member of the Committee for Practice Guidelines of the ESC and President-Elect of the Heart Failure Association of the ESC, outlines the highlights of the Chronic Heart Failure Guidelines and the most notable additions since their initial edition in 20012.

“These updated Guidelines have been exceptionally well formulated and presented. Any update is usually better than the original, but these Guidelines are not only better in terms of scientific content but also in terms of its presentation. They have been made more user-friendly and tailored to the needs of practising physicians.

“Avoiding broad or sweeping generalisations, these Guidelines are truly realistic and clinically relevant to the real world and, most specifically, European populations. They are not in conflict with the previous Chronic Heart Failure Guidelines of the ESC, but are an updated and improved version of the former.

“Since the last Guidelines on Chronic Heart Failure were issued in 2001, there have been substantial developments in the area of Heart Failure overall. The whole approach has also become more multidisciplinary. We are increasingly seeing a trend towards hospital-based Heart Failure Management Programmes and recognising the multifaceted role of natriuretic peptides in Heart Failure.

“The last Guidelines were not particularly device-oriented, but since then there have been important advances with strong trial evidence, most specifically in Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy (CRT) and Implantable Cardiac Defibrillation (ICD), which are appropriately represented in the update with practical recommendations. Furthermore, studies such as CHARM and VALIANT have demonstrated the efficacy of Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARB). ARBs are increasingly used in routine management and reflect the impact of the newer documentation.

“These Guidelines also recognise the impact of the extensive co-morbidity in this population, the importance of the large geriatric population and the special needs of patients with advanced Heart Failure”.

Guidelines Formats

The ESC Chronic Heart Failure Guidelines are available in a variety of formats (Full Text, Executive Summary, and Pocket Guidelines) which can be accessed and/or ordered from the ESC via the ESC Web Site (

Importance of Guidelines

Guidelines are crucial to appropriate clinical practice, comprising specific recommendations on treatment methods, collated by senior European experts and opinion leaders in the field. For maximal relevance, Guidelines must be well presented, practical and relevant to the clinician on both a national and local level. The formulation and continual update of such Guidelines is one of the primary activities of the ESC. The ESC aims to produce Guidelines that both encompass and allow for national variations across Europe and works with its National Cardiac Society members to facilitate national adaptations and translations of each Guideline issued.


1. ESC Guidelines on Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Heart Failure, European Heart Journal 2005; 26: 1115-1140
2. Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Heart Failure, European Heart Journal 2001; 22: 1527-1560

Camilla Dormer | alfa
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