Impact of Systemic Venous Congestion in Heart Failure
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Dupont, M., Mullens, W. & Tang, W.H.W. Curr Heart Fail Rep (2011) 8: 233. doi:10.1007/s11897-011-0071-7
Systemic venous congestion is one of the hallmarks of the syndrome of heart failure that results from activation of different deleterious neurohormonal pathways. Apart from contributing to patients’ symptoms and hospital admissions, growing evidence suggests that congestion itself drives further heart failure progression. In addition, systemic venous congestion exerts detrimental effects on other organs (such as kidneys and liver) due to ineffective organ perfusion. Endothelial cell activation, altered ventricular geometry, and functional mitral insufficiency are among the proposed mechanisms. Diuretics and vasodilators remain the mainstay of treatment options, mostly because of poor understanding of the underlying cardiorenal mechanisms involved. Recently, ultrafiltration has emerged as an invasive treatment option in the setting of diuretic resistance. Congestion ideally should be prevented, often initially through water and salt restriction. Early detection, possibly with the help of novel implantable sensor technology, may allow for early detection and intervention long before overt congestion is established.