Economics of treating heart failure.
Over 400,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF) annually. The 3 major causes of acute cardiac hospitalizations in the United States--CHF, unstable angina, and acute myocardial infarction--all reflect a failure to prevent progression of established cardiovascular disease. More effective treatment strategies for CHF should be directed at preventing rehospitalization through modification of cardiac risk factors. Several large clinical trials have demonstrated that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, while considered preferred therapy, are routinely underutilized by all healthcare practitioners. Digoxin has also been shown in several clinical trials to reduce the need for rehospitalization in CHF patients. Finally, patients' quality of life and the morbidity associated with CHF can be reduced through well-structured disease management programs in conjunction with ACE inhibitor and digoxin therapy.
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