Congestive heart failure electrocardiogram

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Congestive Heart Failure Microchapters


Patient Information


Historical Perspective



Systolic Dysfunction
Diastolic Dysfunction


Differentiating Congestive heart failure from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


Clinical Assessment

History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings


Chest X Ray

Cardiac MRI


Exercise Stress Test

Myocardial Viability Studies

Cardiac Catheterization

Other Imaging Studies

Other Diagnostic Studies


Invasive Hemodynamic Monitoring

Medical Therapy:

Acute Pharmacotherapy
Chronic Pharmacotherapy in HFpEF
Chronic Pharmacotherapy in HFrEF
ACE Inhibitors
Angiotensin receptor blockers
Aldosterone Antagonists
Beta Blockers
Ca Channel Blockers
Positive Inotropics
Angiotensin Receptor-Neprilysin Inhibitor
Antiarrhythmic Drugs
Nutritional Supplements
Hormonal Therapies
Drugs to Avoid
Drug Interactions
Treatment of underlying causes
Associated conditions

Exercise Training

Surgical Therapy:

Biventricular Pacing or Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)
Implantation of Intracardiac Defibrillator
Cardiac Surgery
Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs)
Cardiac Transplantation

ACC/AHA Guideline Recommendations

Initial and Serial Evaluation of the HF Patient
Hospitalized Patient
Patients With a Prior MI
Sudden Cardiac Death Prevention
Surgical/Percutaneous/Transcather Interventional Treatments of HF
Patients at high risk for developing heart failure (Stage A)
Patients with cardiac structural abnormalities or remodeling who have not developed heart failure symptoms (Stage B)
Patients with current or prior symptoms of heart failure (Stage C)
Patients with refractory end-stage heart failure (Stage D)
Coordinating Care for Patients With Chronic HF
Quality Metrics/Performance Measures

Implementation of Practice Guidelines

Congestive heart failure end-of-life considerations

Specific Groups:

Special Populations
Patients who have concomitant disorders
Obstructive Sleep Apnea in the Patient with CHF
NSTEMI with Heart Failure and Cardiogenic Shock

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-In-Chief: Lakshmi Gopalakrishnan, M.B.B.S. [2]


Although there is no diagnostic criteria of congestive heart failure on the EKG, there may be signs of the underlying cardiac cause(s) of congestive heart failure.


Low QRS Voltage:

  • The EKG often shows low QRS voltage. There are two broad underlying causes of low QRS voltage in the patient with heart failure:
  1. Electrically inert myocardium due to a loss of viable myocardium
  2. Infiltration of the myocardium (myxedematous, Chagas disease)
  • In alphabetical order the differential diagnosis of causes of low QRS voltage in the patient with heart failure includes:

Poor R wave progression:

Poor R wave progression in the precordial leads may be secondary to a prior myocardial infarction but can also be observed in the absence of a prior myocardial infarction in the patient with heart failure.

Left bundle branch block (LBBB):

Left bundle branch block (LBBB) can be observed in both ischemic and non-ischemic cases of heart failure.

Left ventricular hypertrophy:

Changes of left ventricular hypertrophy consistent with a history of hypertension can be seen

Left atrial enlargement:

Dilation of the left atrium can occur in congestive heart failure and the accompanying EKG abnormalities can be observed on the EKG.

Non-specific ST segment and T wave changes:

T wave and ST segment inversions and flattening can be observed in heart failure.

2009 ACC/AHA Focused Update and 2005 Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Chronic Heart Failure in the Adult (DO NOT EDIT) [3][4]

Electrocardiogram Assessment of Patients Presenting With Heart Failure (DO NOT EDIT) [3][4]

Class I
"1. Twelve-lead electrocardiogram and chest radiograph (PA and lateral) should be performed initially in all patients presenting with heart failure. (Level of Evidence: C) "
Class III (No Benefit)
"1. Routine use of signal-averaged electrocardiography is not recommended for the evaluation of patients presenting with heart failure. (Level of Evidence: C) "
Class IIb
"1. Holter monitoring might be considered in patients presenting with heart failure who have a history of myocardial infarction and are being considered for electrophysiologic study to document ventricular tachycardia inducibility. (Level of Evidence: C) "

Vote on and Suggest Revisions to the Current Guidelines



  1. 1.0 1.1 Madias JE (2008). "Low QRS voltage and its causes". J Electrocardiol. 41 (6): 498–500. doi:10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2008.06.021. PMID 18804788.
  2. Chinitz JS, Cooper JM, Verdino RJ (2008). "Electrocardiogram voltage discordance: interpretation of low QRS voltage only in the limb leads". J Electrocardiol. 41 (4): 281–6. doi:10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2007.12.001. PMID 18353352.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Hunt SA, Abraham WT, Chin MH, Feldman AM, Francis GS, Ganiats TG, Jessup M, Konstam MA, Mancini DM, Michl K, Oates JA, Rahko PS, Silver MA, Stevenson LW, Yancy CW, Antman EM, Smith SC Jr, Adams CD, Anderson JL, Faxon DP, Fuster V, Halperin JL, Hiratzka LF, Jacobs AK, Nishimura R, Ornato JP, Page RL, Riegel B; American College of Cardiology; American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines; American College of Chest Physicians; International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation; Heart Rhythm Society. ACC/AHA 2005 Guideline Update for the Diagnosis and Management of Chronic Heart Failure in the Adult: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines (Writing Committee to Update the 2001 Guidelines for the Evaluation and Management of Heart Failure): developed in collaboration with the American College of Chest Physicians and the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation: endorsed by the Heart Rhythm Society. Circulation. 2005 Sep 20; 112(12): e154-235. Epub 2005 Sep 13. PMID 16160202
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Jessup M, Abraham WT, Casey DE, Feldman AM, Francis GS, Ganiats TG et al. (2009) 2009 focused update: ACCF/AHA Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Heart Failure in Adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines: developed in collaboration with the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Circulation 119 (14):1977-2016. DOI:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192064 PMID: 19324967
  5. Heidenreich PA, Bozkurt B, Aguilar D, Allen LA, Byun JJ, Colvin MM, Deswal A, Drazner MH, Dunlay SM, Evers LR, Fang JC, Fedson SE, Fonarow GC, Hayek SS, Hernandez AF, Khazanie P, Kittleson MM, Lee CS, Link MS, Milano CA, Nnacheta LC, Sandhu AT, Stevenson LW, Vardeny O, Vest AR, Yancy CW (May 2022). "2022 AHA/ACC/HFSA Guideline for the Management of Heart Failure: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Joint Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines". Circulation. 145 (18): e895–e1032. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000001063. PMID 35363499 Check |pmid= value (help).

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