270. Guidelines: 2022 AHA/ACC/HFSA Guideline for the Management of Heart Failure – Question #11 with Dr. Prateeti Khazanie

The following question refers to Section 8.1 of the 2022 AHA/ACC/HFSA Guideline for the Management of Heart Failure

The question is asked by Western Michigan University medical student & CardioNerds Intern Shivani Reddy, answered first by Brigham & Women’s medicine resident and Director of CardioNerds Internship Dr. Gurleen Kaur, and then by expert faculty Dr. Prateeti Khazanie.

Dr. Khazanie is an Associate Professor and Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiologist at the University of Colorado. She was an undergraduate at Duke University as a B.N. Duke Scholar. She spent two years at the NIH in the lab of Dr. Anthony Fauci and completed a dual MD-MPH program at Duke Medical School. When she started residency, she thought she was going to be an ID doctor, but she fell in love with cardiology at Stanford where she was an intern, resident, and then chief resident. She went back to Duke for her general cardiology and advanced heart failure/transplant fellowships as well as research training at the DCRI. Dr. Khazanie joined the University of Colorado in 2015 as a health services clinician researcher with a focus on improving health equity and bioethics in advanced heart failure care. She mentors medical students, residents, and fellows and is a faculty mentor for the University of Colorado Cardiology Fellows “House of Cards” mentoring group. She has research funding from the NIH/NHLBI K23, NIH Ethics Grant, and Ludeman Center for Women’s Health Research. Dr. Khazanie is an author on the 2022 ACC/AHA/HFSA HF Guidelines, the 2021 HFSA Universal Definition of Heart Failure, and multiple scientific statements.

The Decipher the Guidelines: 2022 AHA / ACC / HFSA Guideline for The Management of Heart Failure series was developed by the CardioNerds and created in collaboration with the American Heart Association and the Heart Failure Society of America. It was created by 30 trainees spanning college through advanced fellowship under the leadership of CardioNerds Cofounders Dr. Amit Goyal and Dr. Dan Ambinder, with mentorship from Dr. Anu Lala, Dr. Robert Mentz, and Dr. Nancy Sweitzer. We thank Dr. Judy Bezanson and Dr. Elliott Antman for tremendous guidance.

Enjoy this Circulation 2022 Paths to Discovery article to learn about the CardioNerds story, mission, and values.

A 64-year-old woman with a history of chronic systolic heart failure secondary to NICM (LVEF 15-20%) s/p dual chamber ICD presents for routine follow-up. She reports several months of progressive fatigue, dyspnea, and peripheral edema. She has been hospitalized twice in the past year with acute decompensated heart failure. Efforts to optimize guideline directed medical therapy have been tempered by episodes of lightheadedness and hypotension. Her exam is notable for an elevated JVP, an S3 heart sound, and a III/VI holosystolic murmur best heard at the apex with radiation to the axilla. Labs show Na 130 mmol/L, Cr 1.8 mg/dL (from 1.1 mg/dL 6 months prior), and NT-proBNP 1,200 pg/mL. ECG in clinic shows sinus rhythm and a nonspecific IVCD with QRS 116 ms. Her most recent TTE shows biventricular dilation with LVEF 15-20%, moderate functional MR, moderate functional TR and estimated RVSP of 40mmHg. What is the most appropriate next step in management?


Refer to electrophysiology for upgrade to CRT-D


Increase sacubitril-valsartan dose


Refer for advanced therapies evaluation


Start treatment with milrinone infusion


The correct answer is C – refer for advanced therapies evaluation.

Our patient has multiple signs and symptoms of advanced heart failure including NYHA Class III-IV functional status, persistently elevated natriuretic peptides, severely reduced LVEF, evidence of end organ dysfunction, multiple hospitalizations for ADHF, edema despite escalating doses of diuretics, and progressive intolerance to GDMT. Importantly, the 2018 European Society of Cardiology revised definition of advanced HF focuses on refractory symptoms rather than cardiac function and more clearly acknowledges that advanced HF can occur in patients without severely reduced LVEF, such as in those with isolated RV dysfunction, uncorrectable valvular or congenital heart disease, and in patients with preserved and mildly reduced LVEF.

In such patients with advanced heart failure, when consistent with the patient’s goals of care, timely referral for HF specialty care is recommended to review HF management and assess suitability for advanced HF therapies (eg, LVAD, cardiac transplantation, palliative care, and palliative inotropes) (Class I, LOE C-LD).

Clinical indicators of advanced heart failure should prompt a possible referral to an advanced HF specialist and can be remembered by the INEEDHELP acronym:

·       I – IV inotropes

·       N – NYHA IIIb-VI or persistently elevated natriuretic peptides

·       E – End-organ dysfunction

·       E – EF ≤ 35%

·       D – Defibrillator shocks

·       H – Hospitalizations > 1 in past year

·       E – Edema despite escalating diuretics

·       L – Low systolic blood pressure (≤90) or high heart rate

·       P – Prognostic medication; progressive intolerance or down-titration of GDMT

It would not be appropriate to refer to EP for CRT-D upgrade as this is a Class 3 recommendation (LOE B-R) in patients with QRS duration <120 ms for no benefit.

Increasing the dose of sacubitril-valsartan would not be appropriate in this setting as the patient would be likely unable to tolerate a higher dose given her complaints of lightheadedness and episodes of hypotension.

Initiating treatment with IV inotropes would not be appropriate in this setting. Although the use of IV inotropes is given a Class 1 recommendation (LOE B-NR) for the treatment of cardiogenic shock, the patient described in the question stem does not meet clinical criteria for cardiogenic shock.

Main Takeaway

Clinical indicators for advanced heart failure can be remembered by the I-Need-Help acronym, and there is a Class 1, LOE C recommendation for these patients to be referred to HF specialists for further management and assessment for advanced therapies, when consistent with the patient’s goals of care.

Guideline Loc.

Section 8.1

Tables 16-18


Stage D (Advanced) Heart Failure
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