Heart failure in very elderly population - A profile of heart failure in patients over the age of eighty

Christopher Y. Chien, Dani Hackner, Ernst R. Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Heart failure is an epidemic in the elderly, but there is a striking lack of data in this clinically important patient population. We investigated the demographics, cardiac performance, and medication management of a segment of the hospital population in at least their eighth decade of life. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 75 records of heart failure patients who were 80 years of age or older. Records were reviewed for demographic information, presence or absence of diastolic dysfunction, evaluation of ejection fraction, and medication usage including angiotensin-concerting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor antagonists (ARBs), beta-adrenergic blockers, digoxin, and aldosterone antagonists. Assessment for contra-indications to ACE inhibitor or ARBs use was also performed to assess co-morbidities that limit treatment of heart failure. Results: The population of very elderly with heart failure is heterogeneous. We found a higher proportion of females as well as higher rates of diastolic dysfunction in patients aged ≥ 90 years compared to patients between the ages of 80-89 years. Usage of ACE inhibitors, ARBs and beta-adrenergic blockers was strikingly low throughout the very elderly population. While co-morbid conditions limited use of agents in many cases, there was a lack of explicit contra-indication in most patients not on an ACE inhibitor or an ARB. Conclusions: Heart failure is not a single disease processes, but a continuum of disease processes that vary with age. The elderly with heart failure are an undertreated population, in part due to the multitude of co-morbidities that affect them. Further prospective studies are needed to better understand the physiology and ideal treatment regiment in this growing population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-24
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Geriatric Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Centenarians
  • Elderly
  • Heart failure
  • Nonagenarians
  • Octogenarians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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