Cardiac failure: an update and the role of the pharmacist

  • G Schellack
  • N Schellack Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
Keywords: cardiac failure, heart failure, cardiac output, stroke volume, ejection fraction, systolic dysfunction, LVEF, HFpEF, HFrEF, brain natriuretic peptide, NT-proBNP, ACE-inhibitor, ARB, ARNI, CCB, β-blocker


Heart failure (HF) often occurs in patients who have more than one comorbidity, with resultant polypharmacy. Medication errors may occur, along with adverse interactions between medicines. This highlights the importance of the pharmacist as part of the multidisciplinary team in the management of HF. Many advances have been made in the way in which heart failure is classified, diagnosed, managed and treated. The body of knowledge is ever-expanding and hence the need for frequent review of treatment guidelines in light of the data emerging from ongoing research. This article focuses on elucidating some of the currrent strategies to manage and treat this condition. Certain associated pathological conditions and modalities are therefore beyond the scope of this article and the reader is advised to consult the the latest international guidelines for more detailed explanations of advanced treatment strategies, the cardiomyopathies, congenital heart defects, acute cardiac failure, and heart failure within the context of myocardial infarction, cardiac valve replacement surgery, coronary artery revascularisation and other specialised examples.

Author Biographies

G Schellack

Pharmaceutical industry specialist in clinical research and applied pharmacology, South Africa

N Schellack, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University

School of Pharmacy, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa