This guideline covers diagnosing and managing acute heart failure or possible acute heart failure in people aged 18 and over. It aims to improve the immediate care of someone who is acutely unwell as a result of heart failure.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart does not pump enough blood to meet all the needs of the body. It is caused by dysfunction of the heart due to muscle damage (systolic or diastolic dysfunction), valvular dysfunction, arrhythmias or other rare causes. Acute heart failure can present as new-onset heart failure in people without known cardiac dysfunction, or as acute decompensation of chronic heart failure.