Current Trends in Cardiology

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Rapid Communication - Current Trends in Cardiology (2023) Volume 7, Issue 10

Clinical and biochemical assessments of acute heart failure and organ injury

Tiny Jaarsma*

Department of Physiotherapy, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain

*Corresponding Author:
Tiny Jaarsma
Department of Physiotherapy
University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain

Received: 25-Sep-2023, Manuscript No. AACC-23-114277; Editor assigned: 27-Sep-2023, Pre QC No. AACC-23-114277(PQ); Reviewed: 12-Oct-2023, QC No. AACC-23-114277; Revised: 17-Oct-2023, Manuscript No. AACC-23-114277(R), Published: 24-Oct-2023,DOI:10.35841/aacc-7.10.211

Citation: Jaarsma T. Clinical and biochemical assessments of acute heart failure and organ injury. J Cell Biol Metab. 2023;7(10):211

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Clinical assessment is the initial step in evaluating patients suspected of having AHF. It involves a thorough history taking, physical examination, and assessment of vital signs. Key clinical findings that may suggest AHF include:

Dyspnea: Patients with AHF often present with severe shortness of breath, especially when lying flat (orthopnea) or waking up at night due to breathlessness (paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea).

Fluid Retention: Peripheral edema, typically in the lower extremities, is a common sign of AHF. Pitting edema, where pressing a finger on the swollen area leaves a temporary indentation, is characteristic.

Crackles on Lung Examination: On auscultation of the lungs, crackles (rales) may be heard due to fluid accumulation in the alveoli [1].

Jugular Venous Distention (JVD): Enlargement of the jugular veins in the neck can be indicative of increased central venous pressure, often seen in AHF.

Tachycardia and Tachypnea: Rapid heart rate and breathing are common compensatory responses to maintain cardiac output [2].

Hepatomegaly: Enlargement of the liver may occur due to congestion in the hepatic circulation.

Cyanosis: In severe cases, bluish discoloration of the lips and extremities (cyanosis) may occur due to inadequate oxygen delivery.

Biochemical Assessment of Acute Heart Failure

Biochemical assessments play a vital role in diagnosing and managing AHF. Several biomarkers are useful in assessing the severity of AHF and its impact on various organs [3].

Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) and N-terminal Pro-B-type Natriuretic Peptide (NT-proBNP): These biomarkers are secreted by the heart in response to increased ventricular wall stress and volume overload. Elevated levels of BNP and NT-proBNP are strong indicators of AHF and can help differentiate it from other causes of dyspnea.

Troponin: Cardiac troponins are markers of myocardial injury. Elevated troponin levels in AHF suggest myocardial ischemia or infarction, which can contribute to worsening heart failure [4].

Creatinine and Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): Elevated creatinine and BUN levels indicate impaired renal function, which is common in AHF due to reduced perfusion of the kidneys. These markers are crucial for assessing the severity of renal injury and guiding fluid management.

Liver Function Tests: AHF can lead to hepatic congestion, causing liver dysfunction. Elevated liver enzymes such as ALT (alanine aminotransferase) and AST (aspartate aminotransferase) may indicate liver injury.

Electrolyte Imbalances: Monitoring electrolyte levels, such as sodium and potassium, is essential as imbalances can lead to arrhythmias and worsen AHF.

Complete Blood Count (CBC): Anemia and elevated white blood cell counts may indicate an underlying infection or inflammation contributing to AHF.

Organ Injury Assessment

In AHF, organ injury can occur as a consequence of poor perfusion and oxygen delivery. Timely recognition and management of these injuries are crucial to improving patient outcomes.

Renal Injury: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is common in AHF. Serial monitoring of creatinine and BUN levels can help assess renal function. Fluid management, diuretics, and vasodilators are often used to mitigate renal injury.

Hepatic Injury: Congestion in the hepatic circulation can lead to hepatic dysfunction. Liver enzymes, such as ALT and AST, should be monitored regularly. Reducing fluid overload and optimizing heart function are key to managing hepatic injury [5].

Pulmonary Injury: Pulmonary edema, a hallmark of AHF, can lead to impaired gas exchange and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Oxygen saturation and arterial blood gases should be closely monitored.

Neurological Injury: Decreased cerebral perfusion in AHF can lead to confusion, altered mental status, and even coma. Monitoring neurologic status and correcting underlying causes, such as hypoxia and hypotension, is essential.

Cardiac Injury: Myocardial infarction can contribute to AHF. Elevation of troponin levels indicates cardiac injury and should prompt consideration of coronary artery evaluation and revascularization if appropriate.


Clinical and biochemical assessments are integral in diagnosing and managing acute heart failure and associated organ injuries. The combination of clinical findings and biomarker levels aids in the prompt identification of AHF, guides treatment decisions, and helps monitor the response to therapy. Timely recognition and intervention are critical to improving outcomes and reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with this life-threatening condition. Collaboration among healthcare providers, including cardiologists, nephrologists, and intensivists, is essential to delivering comprehensive care to patients with AHF and organ injuries.


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