Affiliation: Clinical Pharmacist, Department of Pharmacy, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.
Heart failure (HF) is an epidemic associated with significant morbidity and mortality, affecting over 5 million people in the United States and 1-2% of the population worldwide. Observational studies have suggested that a healthy lifestyle can reduce HF risk. Although no clinical trials have targeted the prevention of HF as a primary endpoint, many have evaluated outcomes associated with the development of symptomatic disease (i.e., progression to HF, HF hospitalization or death) as secondary endpoints. Blood pressure treatment represents the most effective strategy in preventing heart failure; each 5 mm Hg decrease in systolic blood pressures reduces the risk of HF development by 24%. Thiazide diuretics appear to be the most efficacious agents in patients with hypertension. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin-II receptor blockers are first line agents for patients with chronic atherosclerosis, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. Beta blockers appear less effective as single agents and cardioselective agents are preferred. Calcium channel blockers, specifically non-dihydropyridines, should be avoided and alpha blockers should not be used to reduce HF risk.