Heart Failure in the Elderly
Congestive heart failure is a common problem in the elderly patient . Although available evidence suggests that the causes of heart failure in older patients are generally similar to those in the general adult population, the clinical presentations and thus the diagnostic evaluations may differ. Age-related changes in cardiac function and the peripheral vasculature and, more importantly, the more sedentary life-style of the older patient may mask or conversely mimic the usual signs of heart failure. Physicians must be suspicious of nonspecific symptoms as well as the sometimes unimpressive physical signs of heart failure. At the same time, they must be aware that complaints and physical signs, which in younger patients suggest cardiac decompensation, may in the elderly be nonspecific. Most importantly, as in other groups of patients, confirmation of the diagnosis of heart failure should be the starting point in a search for reversible or specifically treatable underlying causes.
KeywordsHeart Failure Stroke Volume Chronic Heart Failure Aortic Stenosis Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
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