Chronic heart failure in the elderly: still a current medical problem

Folia Med Cracov. 2018;58(4):47-56.


Congestive heart failure (CHF) is the final stage in several heart diseases. The diagnosis of CHF in older patients is a challenge. Preserved left ventricular systolic function is a characteristic type of CHF in seniors. The purpose of the study was to characterize elderly patients with CHF and to highlight specific features of the conditions in seniors. e most common etiology of HF in this group of patients is hypertension and coronary heart disease. In seniors atypical presentations of chronic heart failure is much more common than in younger patients. Malnutrition, limitations of exercise and sedentary lifestyles or comorbid diseases have an influence on asymptomatic, early stage of HF. There are better outcomes of treatment in obese individuals. It is called the obesity paradox. Open communication with a patient and his/her family may improve their response to therapy. When heart failure becomes an incurable disease and aggressive treatment is ineffective, palliative care should be considered in end-of-life heart failure patients. The goal of treatment in the remaining moments of life last moments of life should be maximizing the patient's comfort.

Keywords: cachexia; congestive heart failure; palliative care; seniors.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors