Treatment for chronic heart failure in the elderly: Current practice and problems

Pasquale Abete, Gianluca Testa, David Della-Morte, Gaetano Gargiulo, Gianluigi Galizia, Domenico De Santis, Antonio Magliocca, Claudia Basile, Francesco Cacciatore

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Treatment for chronic heart failure (CHF) is strongly focused on evidence-based medicine. However, large trials are often far away from the "real world" of geriatric patients and their messages are poorly transferable to the clinical management of CHF elderly patients. Precipitating factors and especially non-cardiac comorbidity may decompensate CHF in the elderly. More importantly, drugs of first choice, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and β-blockers, are still underused and effective drugs on diastolic dysfunction are not available. Poor adherence to therapy, especially for cognitive and depression disorders, worsens the management. Electrical therapy is indicated, but attention to the older age groups with reduced life expectancy has to be paid. Physical exercise, stem cells, gene delivery, and new devices are encouraging, but definitive results are still not available. Palliative care plays a key role to the end-stage of the disease. Follow-up of CHF elderly patient is very important but tele-medicine is the future. Finally, self-care management, caregiver training, and multidimensional team represent the critical point of the treatment for CHF elderly patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-551
Number of pages23
JournalHeart Failure Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Adherence
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Comorbidity
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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