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Objectives

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At the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify key aspects of aging which influence the diagnosis and treatment of HF in elderly patients

  • Demonstrate sensitivity to elderly patients and the issues they have with treatment compliance

  • Identify some of the atypical HF symptoms sometimes evident in elderly patients

 

Heart Failure in the Elderly

Many heart failure patients are elderly. As a health care provider, you should be aware that they often require special treatment. The sedentary lifestyle that most elderly people lead can result in decreased awareness of symptoms and result in advanced heart failure at the time of diagnosis. Also, the presence of a high number of co-morbidities can complicate treatment regimes. With elderly patients, it is especially important to think about how you will preserve their functional independence and cognitive ability, which may already be in the balance.

Palliative care, or end of life issues need to be addressed.

The impact of frailty and cognitive impairment can lead to atypical symptoms

  • Delirium

  • Falls

  • Immobility

  • Nocturia

  • Nocturnal incontinence

Elderly women are more likely to present with preserved systolic function than young women