The older patient with heart failure: High risk for frailty and cognitive impairment

  • Harkness K
  • Heckman G
  • McKelvie R
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Managing older heart failure (HF) patients can be complicated by both cardiac and noncardiac conditions. Over the past 20 years, care for HF patients has become more complex, with a rising proportion of older people living with HF. In particular, cognitive impairment (CI) and frailty often coexist with HF in the elderly. With the prevalence of HF, frailty and cognitive impairment rising with age, the simultaneous occurrence of at least two of these conditions in the same individual will become more frequent. The presence of frailty and/or cognitive impairment in older people with HF is independently associated with worse clinical outcomes. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of frailty and cognitive impairment in older HF patients. Specifically, this article describes the epidemiology of these conditions in HF patients, outlines potential underlying mechanisms, highlights relevant screening tools and reviews relevant clinical implications.

Author-supplied keywords

  • cognitive impairment
  • elderly
  • frailty
  • heart failure

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  • Karen Harkness

  • George A. Heckman

  • Robert S. McKelvie

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