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Editor's Correspondence
December 13, 2004

Signs Masquerading as a Diagnosis

Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(22):2500-2509. doi:10.1001/archinte.164.22.2502-c

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a descriptive term including a constellation of signs of serious cardiac disease of various causes associated with congestion of the circulation. It is not a single diagnosis. It is often and understandably used in that sense in medical jargon, however, as when the cardiac diagnoses of the population under study is clearly appreciated. Such was the case several years ago, for example, with the CHF study by Goff et al,1 in which over 5000 patient hospital records were reviewed using sharply focused International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes, which excluded all but arteriosclerotic heart disease, mainly acute myocardial infarctions, and various interventional procedures aimed at revascularization.

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