Relapse of congestive heart failure (CHF) frequently occurs and has serious consequences in terms of morbidity, mortality, and health care expenditure. Many studies have investigated the aetiological and prognostic factors of CHF, but there are only limited data on the role of precipitating factors that trigger relapse of CHF. Knowledge of potential precipitating factors may help to optimise treatment and provide guidance for patients with CHF. The literature was reviewed to identify factors that may influence haemodynamic homeostasis in CHF. Precipitating factors that may offer opportunities for preventing relapse of CHF were selected. Potential precipitating factors are discussed in relation to the pathophysiology of CHF: alcohol, smoking, psychological stress, uncontrolled hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, myocardial ischaemia, poor treatment compliance, and inappropriate medical treatment. Poor treatment compliance in particular is frequently encountered in patients with CHF. Furthermore, studies of medical treatment under everyday circumstances indicate that some aspects of the management of CHF can be improved. In conclusion, the identification of precipitating factors for relapse of CHF may strongly contribute to optimal treatment. Improvement of treatment compliance and optimalisation of medical treatment may offer important possibilities to clinicians to reduce the number of relapses in patients with CHF.

Alcohol Drinking/adverse effects, Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/therapeutic use, Arrhythmia/complications, Fluid Therapy/adverse effects, Heart Failure, Congestive/drug therapy/etiology/*prevention & control, Humans, Hypertension/complications, Patient Compliance, Recurrence, Smoking/adverse effects, Stress, Psychological/complications, Treatment Failure
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Feenstra, J, Grobbee, D.E, Jonkman, F.A.M, Hoes, A.W, & Stricker, B.H.Ch. (1998). Prevention of relapse in patients with congestive heart failure: the role of precipitating factors. Heart. Retrieved from