The type of emergency treatment indicated in heart failure depends to some extent on the etiologic basis of the heart failure. The need for emergency treatment depends on the character of the pathologic process which preceded the break in compensation and on the severity of the clinical abnormality which is the expression of this particular underlying pathologic condition.
In the presence of heart failure the clinician must attempt to establish, if possible, the underlying cause and the type of failure which is present. This assumes that he is not misled by the many vagaries of cardiac rhythm which are so often misinterpreted as evidence of true failure. Inability to diagnosticate properly the cardiac state and evaluate the abnormalities of rhythm often lead to grave mistakes in diagnosis, resulting in many cases in unending psychologic turmoil in the patient who has been exposed to the incorrect diagnosis. Cardiac neuroses that may
McMAHON A. EMERGENCY TREATMENT OF ACUTE HEART FAILURE: CLINICAL LECTURE AT ST. LOUIS SESSION. JAMA. 1939;113(11):1025–1029. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.72800360004011
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