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Arch Hellen Med, 28(1), January-February 2011, 33-38


Heart failure in the elderly: Specific clinical and therapeutic problems

G.H. Antonakoudis,1 L.E. Poulimenos,1 D.P. Patestos,1 Ε. Thireos,2 H.G. Antonakoudis1
1Department of Cardiology, "Asclepeion" General Hospital of Voula, Voula,
2Health Center of Vari, Vari, Greece

There is a high prevalence of heart failure in the elderly, with various degrees of impairment of systolic performance, and with a poor prognosis, which has a strong impact on healthcare economics. In spite of this, there has been a lack of evidence based approaches to the investigation of the pathophysiology and to the management of this syndrome. It is evident that the forms of treatment presently available are underutilized, and in particular treatment for hypertension management. Aggressive control of the blood pressure is the most effective strategy for the prevention of heart failure in the elderly; hypertension is the most common etiology of heart failure in the elderly population, in contrast to adults, in whom coronary artery disease is the major cause of heart failure. The high morbidity and mortality in the older population is aggravated by the increased prevalence of comorbid diseases affecting other organs, especially the kidneys and lungs, and by the phenomenon of polypharmacy in this age-group. In addition, the social and behavioral problems that characterize this population contribute to the increased morbidity, which is why a multidisciplinary approach to the management of heart failure in the elderly is of such great importance; it is markedly beneficial and strongly recommended.

Key words: Elderly, Heart failure.

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