The management of diagnosed heart failure in older people in primary care.
Jones NR., Hobbs FDR., Taylor CJ.
Heart failure (HF) is a common condition affecting predominantly older people. Symptoms include breathlessness and fatigue, and can significantly reduce quality of life. HF rarely occurs in isolation, with most patients having several co-existing diseases requiring multiple medications. There is a large evidence base for treatment of HF with reduced ejection fraction, or HFrEF; however, many of the trials did not include older people with multimorbidity so their findings should be applied to this group with some caution. The evidence for treatment of HF with preserved ejection fraction, or HFpEF, is much less well established in all age groups. Older people with HF are usually managed in primary care with input from specialist HF teams when needed. General practitioners are trained to take a generalist approach, which allows them to deliver holistic, person-centred care. The wider multidisciplinary team is also important during the patient's HF journey, with a particular need to consider palliative care towards the end of life. This article summarises the important aspects of HF management in older people from the perspective of primary care.