Heart Failure Pharmacotherapy and Supports in the Elderly - A Short Review
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Heart failure is predominantly a disease of the elderly with an increasing prevalence with increasing age. Increasing age is also associated with increased multi-morbidity such that elderly heart failure patients typically have five to six comorbidities in addition to heart failure. Elderly patients are also more likely to have heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), and there are fewer evidence-based treatments with proven efficacy in HFpEF. Hence the management of heart failure in these patients is largely about managing the symptoms of heart failure, along with the other cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular comorbidities. Any proposed treatments need to be considered for the potential for reduced benefit due to the competing risk of morbidity and mortality from the patient’s other conditions. In patients with heart failure, health related quality of life is impacted by both comorbidities and frailty, and frailty is associated with an increased risk of emergency department visits and hospitalisation. Frailty may also be associated with increased adverse reactions to medications. Although newer guidelines have more information on the management of these comorbidities there are still many areas of uncertainty and potential treatment conflicts. Further research is required on the interactions between different comorbidities, their treatments and heart failure and its management.