The pathophysiologic understanding of chronic heart failure (CHF) has shifted from a mere hemodynamic disorder to a much more complex approach including changes and imbalances in neurohormonal, immune, and metabolic functions. Among metabolic abnormalities, hyperuricemia is a constant finding in CHF. The xanthine oxidase metabolic pathway increasingly is appreciated as an important contributor to both symptoms of CHF as well as progression of the disease. Recent data suggest hyperuricemia to be an independent marker of impaired prognosis in CHF. In this article, the significance of the xanthine oxidase metabolic pathway in CHF is discussed. Data on xanthine oxidase inhibition are reviewed, which suggest a beneficial effect of therapeutically targeting this enzymatic pathway.
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