, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 308-313
Date: 11 Mar 2012

Is Heart Rate a Treatment Target in Heart Failure?

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Clinical and experimental studies confirmed an association between elevated resting heart rate and the risk of mortality in heart failure patients. Importantly, elevated heart rate at rest has been identified as a key finding in heart failure addressing a major treatment target. This review shows that heart rate level at rest and its extent of reduction is a sensitive indicator for successful therapy in heart failure patients demonstrating the specific influence of heart rate reduction on clinical outcome in the analyzed patients. Currently, experimental data provide convincing evidence of a pathophysiological concept of heart rate reduction; nevertheless, transition from experimental results to clinical evidence needs further clarification, especially in patients with diastolic heart failure. Since heart rate can be easily determined during physical examination, decrease in heart rate of patients allows a simple hint on prognosis and efficiency of heart failure therapy.