Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction in the elderly: pathophysiology, diagnostic and therapeutic approach

J Geriatr Cardiol. 2019 May;16(5):421-428. doi: 10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2019.05.009.


Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a clinical syndrome characterized by symptoms and sings of heart failure with elevated left ventricular filling pressures at rest or during exercise. It is the most common type of heart failure in the elderly and its prevalence increases with age and is higher in females at any given age. HFpEF is frequently accompanied of comorbid conditions such as diabetes mellitus, obesity, atrial fibrillation and renal dysfunction. The diagnosis relies in the integration of clinical information, laboratory data and interpretation of cardiac imaging and hemodynamic findings at rest and during exercise. Conditions that have a specific treatment such as coronary artery disease, valvular disease, cardiac amyloidosis and constrictive pericarditis should be considered and evaluated as appropriate. Aggressive management of comorbidities, optimization of blood pressure control and volume status using diuretics as needed are among the current treatment recommendations. There are no specific therapies that have shown to decrease mortality in HFpEF. In symptomatic patients with history of hospital admission for decompensated heart failure, the implantation of a wireless pulmonary artery pressure monitor should be considered. Finally, given the high mortality of this condition, goals of care discussion should be initiated early and involvement of palliative care medicine should be considered.

Keywords: Echocardiography; Ejection fraction; Heart failure; Pharmacology; The elderly.

Publication types

  • Review