Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapeutics Update: Chronic Heart Failure and Hypertension

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This first part of the session will explore chronic heart failure including outlining the methods of titrating optimal therapy using the most appropriate pharmacologic agents for treating adults with reduced ejection fraction.

The second half of the session discusses the use of at least 6 classes of medications to treat hypertension (HTN) in adults, including general principles for dosing, titration, and monitoring for side effects over time.

Credits: 1.50 contact hours; 1.50 are pharmacology
Release Date: March 1, 2021
End Date: March 1, 2022


As a result of this learning activity, you will be able to:

Chronic Heart Failure (Part 1)
  1. Review the mainline pharmacological treatment for patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). 
  2. Discuss the rationale to consider the use of two new classes of medication for patients with reduced ejection fraction. 
  3. Discuss the challenges and barriers to the up-titration of medications that are indicated for this patient population. 
  4. Discuss situations that would trigger a referral to an HF specialist. 
  5. Discuss the importance of shared decision-making, with patients with advanced HF, especially when considering new classes of medications.
Hypertension (Part 2)
  1. Review four primary classes of medications to treat essential hypertension in adults.
  2. Consider circumstances to use a loop diuretic to treat HTN as opposed to a thiazide diuretic.
  3. Discuss the use of spironolactone in the treatment of resistant hypertension, including starting dose, titration, and monitoring for side effects. 
  4. Outline circumstances for use of other pharmacologic options to treat HTN. 
  5. Review over-the-counter medications or other substances that interfere with the effectiveness of antihypertensive medications.
  6. Discuss reasonable time frames to be used to evaluate the effectiveness of pharmacologic agents.


Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Nursing, PhD Division

Dr. Leslie Davis is a full-time faculty member of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She maintains a part time nurse practitioner(NP) practice with the Division of Cardiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Davis is a fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the American Collège of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association. She is also a certified hypertension clinician through the American Society of Hypertension. As a clinician, she focuses her care on adults with hypertension, heart failure, and acute coronary syndromes. Her research interests include self-care and symptom management with women who have experienced cardiovascular conditions. She has served as editor for the book Cardiovascular Nursing Secrets (2004), as guest editor for two special cardiovascular editions in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners (2013 and 2019), has authored/coauthored articles 35+ papers in peer-reviewed journals, 13 book chapters, and other scholarly products related to cardiovascular topics. 

As a nurse practitioner, Dr. Davis sees patients with difficult to control high blood pressure in the UNC Hypertension Clinic, where a multidisciplinary approach utilizes both lifestyle modification and medications, as well as investigative techniques, to treat hypertension. She also sees patients in the general cardiology clinic and the UNC Heart and Vascular Center.


Obtain Your Credits

To earn credits for this activity, you must complete all course components in the following order: 1) complete a three-question pre-test; 2) watch the course presentation video; 3) complete the course evaluation; 4) pass the post-test with a score of 2/3 (66.7%) or higher. You may retake the post-test until a passing score is achieved, at which point you will be able to view/print a copy of your certificate of completion. This online certificate will also be saved within your profile dashboard transcript for future access.

Designation Statement

NPACE designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.50 contact hours, of which 1.50 is pharmacology credit. Participants should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Accreditation Statement

Nurse Practitioner Associates for Continuing Education (NPACE) is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (ANCC).

In addition to ANCC, NPACE is approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by: the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP8720 and Florida CE Broker #50-1476.



Contributing faculty, Leslie L. Davis, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAANP, FACC, FAHA, FPCNA, have disclosed no relevant financial relationships. 


All planners and contributors involved in this educational activity have disclosed no relevant financial relationships. 


The material presented in this continuing education program is being made available for educational purposes only and is not intended to represent the best or only methods, medications and/or guidelines appropriate for the medical situation discussed. Rather the material is intended to present an approach, view, statement, or opinion of the presenter(s), which may be helpful, or of interest to other practitioners and should not be used by clinicians without the evaluation of their patient’s conditions and possible contraindications on dangers in use, review of any applicable manufacturer’s product information, and comparison with recommendations of other authorities. NPACE disclaims any liability, loss, injury, or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any information given in a presentation.

Disclosure of Unlabeled Use

This educational activity may mention the uses of products that are not approved by the FDA for the indication(s) being discussed. The presenter(s) are instructed to notify participants when they are discussing unapproved uses or investigational agents. The opinions related to unapproved uses of products are solely those of the presenter(s) and are not endorsed or recommended by NPACE. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings.

Commercial Support

There is no commercial support for this activity.


3 Questions  |  1 attempt  |  0/3 points to pass
3 Questions  |  1 attempt  |  0/3 points to pass This pre-test is a non-graded assessment tool we use to establish a baseline and determine a participant's pre-existing knowledge.
Open to view video.
Open to view video.
Course Evaluation
12 Questions
3 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  2/3 points to pass
3 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  2/3 points to pass
1.50 Contact Hours credits  |  Certificate available
1.50 Contact Hours credits  |  Certificate available