Cardiovascular care of older adults

Link to article at PubMed

BMJ. 2021 Aug 31;374:n1593. doi: 10.1136/bmj.n1593.


Age is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. With the accelerated growth of the population of older adults, geriatric and cardiac care are becoming increasingly entwined. Although cardiovascular disease in younger adults often occurs as an isolated problem, it is more likely to occur in combination with clinical challenges related to age in older patients. Management of cardiovascular disease is transmuted by the context of multimorbidity, frailty, polypharmacy, cognitive dysfunction, functional decline, and other complexities of age. This means that additional insight and skills are needed to manage a broader range of relevant problems in older patients with cardiovascular disease. This review covers geriatric conditions that are relevant when treating older adults with cardiovascular disease, particularly management considerations. Traditional practice guidelines are generally well suited for robust older adults, but many others benefit from a relatively more personalized therapeutic approach that allows for a range of medical circumstances and idiosyncratic goals of care. This requires weighing of risks and benefits amidst the patient's aggregate clinical status and the ability to communicate effectively about this with patients and, where appropriate, their care givers in a process of shared decision making. Such a personalized approach can be particularly gratifying, as it provides opportunities to optimize an older patient's function and quality of life at a time in life when these often become foremost therapeutic priorities.

PMID:34465575 | DOI:10.1136/bmj.n1593

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