Vol 19, No 2 (2012)
Original articles
Published online: 2012-03-30

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Age-related gap in the management of heart failure patients. The National Project of Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases — POLKARD

Paweł Matusik, Marzena Dubiel, Barbara Wizner, Małgorzata Fedyk-Łukasik, Tomasz Zdrojewski, Grzegorz Opolski, Jacek Dubiel, Tomasz Grodzicki
Cardiol J 2012;19(2):146-152.


Background: Heart failure (HF) is strongly associated with aging. It affects 10–12% of patients older than 80 years, with five-year overall mortality after first hospitalization for HF being as high as 81%. The main objective of this study was to assess the diagnosis and treatment of HF in hospitalized octogenarians compared to younger subjects.
Methods: The survey was performed among a random sample of all Polish hospitals and in all academic centers, as part of the National Project of Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases in Poland — POLKARD. Using a questionnaire-based method, hospital documentation of the last five patients with diagnosed HF was reviewed. Eventually, in 2005, HF patients of 259 internal medicine and cardiology hospital wards, including 260 very elderly patients, were selected to the study.
Results: The mean age of the 1,289 studied patients was 69.8 ± 11.4 years (age range: 26–96 years), 57.8% were males, and 80.1% were in NYHA class III or IV. Echocardiography was performed in 41.7% of octogenarians in comparison with 58.7% of those categorized as younger elderly, i.e. 60–79 years, and 75.2% of patients aged below 60 years (p < 0.0001). The most prescribed drugs in very elderly patients were diuretics (86.9%, p = 0.005) and ACE-I (81.9%), while only 61.5% used beta-blockers (p < 0.0001). In stepwise logistic regression analysis, hypertension, history of myocardial infarction and admission to cardiology ward were positively associated with beta-blocker and ACE-I (or ARB) therapy, while older age and pulmonary diseases (COPD or asthma) were related to their non-prescription.
Conclusions: Despite significant progress in HF management, there is still a need for an improvement in the medical care of very elderly patients. The major obstacles seem to be advanced age and the presence of coexistent pulmonary diseases. Therefore, the participation of geriatricians and pulmonologists should be recommended in caring for octogenarians with HF. (Cardiol J 2012; 19, 2: 146–152)

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