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Heart Failure: A Companion to Braunwald’s Heart Disease FREE TO VIEW

Matthew J. Campen, PhD
Chest. 2005;128(4):3088. doi:10.1378/chest.128.4.3088
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By Douglas Mann, ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders, 2004. 812 pp; $155.00

In the past decade, clinical trials have revealed that therapy with vasodilators has little to no impact on long-term outcomes in patients with heart failure, while therapy with β-blockers improves survival. These findings were surprising to the medical and scientific community, and quickly redirected practice guidelines and research programs. Meanwhile, novel potential therapies have emerged, including cell replacement, gene therapy, and the use of growth factors. In a field with such a rapid influx of new information, up-to-date comprehensive textbooks become invaluable tools for many physicians and researchers.

The stated objective of Heart Failure: A Companion to Braunwald’s Heart Disease is daunting: to provide “a bench-to-bedside overview of the field of heart failure.” Yet, from the first chapter describing the historical background of how physicians since Hippocrates have understood and treated heart failure, to the subsequent sections, describing current concepts at the molecular, organ, and systems levels, to the final chapters on treatment of the disease, Douglas Mann has assembled a well-organized, interesting, and comprehensive tome. In general, the chapters are clearly written, tending toward a style that indicates the editor kept a wide audience in mind. The illustrations, essential complements to the text given the molecular, cellular, and systemic complexity of the disease, are helpful and illuminating.

The necessary discussions of energetics, remodeling, and excitation-contraction coupling are all present and accounted for, along with descriptions of etiologies and treatment modalities. Perhaps the more inspired chapters are those that deal with less traditional heart failure etiologies, such as peripartum cardiomyopathy, viral myocarditis, and sleep-disordered breathing. The inclusion of a chapter discussing the development of treatment guidelines provides an interesting glimpse into medical policymaking, a unique subject in a book filled with pressure-volume loops and pathophysiologic flow charts.

Overall, Heart Failure: A Companion to Braunwald’s Heart Disease is an excellent reference with the potential to provide instructors, researchers, and practitioners in the medical field with a wealth of detailed information on this important subject.




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