Frequent non-cardiac comorbidities in patients with chronic heart failure

Eur J Heart Fail. 2005 Mar 16;7(3):309-16. doi: 10.1016/j.ejheart.2005.01.008.


Heart failure (HF) in elderly patients is associated with more diffuse symptoms and signs due to the presence of other noncardiac comorbidities. This can cause difficulties in assessing the correct diagnosis and initiating appropriate therapy. The four most frequently occurring noncardiac comorbidities and therapies used to treat them are discussed in the present paper. Hypertension is an important precursor of HF, and is still the most common risk factor for HF in the general population. About 50% of patients with untreated hypertension will develop HF. Pressure overload leads to the development of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and diastolic dysfunction. Diabetes, which occurs in about 20-30% of patients with HF, is an important comorbidity resulting in morphological and metabolic disturbances affecting myocardial blood flow and hormonal regulation leading to a poor outcome and necessitating aggressive conventional treatment. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), occurs in approximately 20-30% of heart failure patients, and may complicate HF treatment, it is therefore important to recognize and treat it effectively. Finally, the early detection of anemia, which occurs in 20-30% of HF patients, is important since it is associated with functional impairment and increased mortality and morbidity. Combined treatment with erythropoietin and intravenous iron has shown beneficial effects on clinical symptoms and morbidity. In conclusion early detection of concomitant diseases in patients with HF is important and should be considered carefully when initiating therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anemia / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / complications
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology