D'Arcy Little, MD, CCFP, Academic Fellow, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, and Director of Medical Education, York Community Services, Toronto, ON.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a serious common, condition. It qualifies as one of the most important contributors to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in the developed world. Due to the burgeoning elderly population, as well as to new treatments for acute myocardial infarction which are allowing more patients to survive with impaired ventricular function, the incidence of CHF will continue to increase dramatically.1 While significant improvements in CHF therapy have been made in the last few decades with the development of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors), as well as a clarification of the role of beta-blockers in therapy, additional strategies are still needed to further reduce progression of disease and consequent morbidity and mortality.1,2 Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) may represent an additional approach to the treatment of CHF with the possibility for improved outcomes. Despite physiological explanations that would make such an assertion sound, significant supporting clinical data are currently lacking.