Percutaneous mechanical devices in the management of decompensated heart failure
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Heart failure is the only cardiovascular disease diagnosis increasing in prevalence in the United States. A number of drugs have been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic heart failure. Despite these advances, the frequency of hospitalization for heart failure has continued to increase, and clinical trial data are lacking in demonstrable benefit of drug therapy for patients hospitalized with acute, decompensated heart failure. A number of percutaneous devices have been developed and are in various stages of investigation and use to improve symptoms and clinical outcomes in patients hospitalized with heart failure. These include “add-on” devices, such as continuous aortic flow augmentation and ultrafiltration devices, and “rescue” devices to be used in patients who are rapidly deteriorating despite medical therapy. In addition to the intra-aortic balloon pump, newer approaches include percutaneous ventricular assist devices that are available for short-term use to stabilize patients until recovery can occur or as “bridges” to longer-term assist or cardiac transplantation. In the coming years, expanded clinical investigation is likely to explore the potential for devices to normalize underlying cardiac function and thereby improve long-term clinical outcomes.
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