Heart failure is common in the elderly population. Approximately 6 to 10 percent of the population 65 years or older have heart failure. Heart failure is the most common reason for hospitalization in elderly patients. Etiology of heart failure is often multifactorial in the elderly. The common causes of heart failure include ischemic heart disease, valvular heart disease, hypertensive heart disease, and cardiomyopathy. Exacerbation of heart failure in the elderly is often accompanied by precipitating factors which include arrhythmia, renal failure, anemia, infection, adverse effect of drugs and noncompliance with medication and/or diet. Diagnosis of heart failure may be difficult in the elderly because symptoms of heart failure are often atypical or even absent. Heart failure with preserved systolic function is common in the elderly because aging has a greater impact on diastolic function. It is important to recognize that very old patients with heart failure are underrepresented in clinical trials.
(Internal Medicine 42: 383-388, 2003)