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New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Date:3/26/2009

Criteria include added section on hospital care and advice on drugs most effective in blacks,,

THURSDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- New guidelines for treatment of heart failure are being issued by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, with a strong emphasis on management of people hospitalized for the condition and also on the treatment of blacks.

"The most important change is the addition of a new section on hospitalized patients," said Dr. Mariell Jessup, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and chairwoman of the guidelines writing group. "It's unusual to have a completely new section, but it is increasingly recognized that hospitalization for heart failure contributes substantially to morbidity and mortality and to health-care costs."

About 5.7 million Americans have heart failure, the progressive loss of ability to pump blood, and 1.1 million people are hospitalized because of it each year. Heart failure management will cost the U.S. health-care system more than $37 billion this year, the guidelines group estimated.

Guidelines are assessed periodically to determine whether results of new trials or studies require changes, Jessup said. "We found that enough has happened for the guidelines to be changed," she said. "The most important studies were on hospitalized patients, so we felt there was a gap we had to fill."

The guidelines are being published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and in the Heart Association journal Circulation

The new guidelines "outline what has to happen in the initial evaluation, such as measurement of ejection fraction and whether the patient has coronary disease or not," Jessup said. "They describe what should be done each day to assess the patient and the need to think carefully about which drugs should be given and why."

Drug assessment includes "the role of cardioact
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