Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction in elderly. From pathophysiology to treatment: an unresolved problem.


Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Department, University of Florence. [Email]


Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) has a significant impact on healthcare resources and while its occurrence in the elderly is increasing, its prognosis has not improved. Despite the prevalence of HFpEF, the understanding of its pathophysiology is still incomplete, and optimal treatment remains largely undefined. The net clinical benefit of medical treatment with ACE inhibitors, ARBs, MRAs and beta-blockers has led to the incorporation of these drugs into HF clinical practice guidelines. However, little or no progress has been done for patients with HFpEF and there are no convincing and validated therapies able to reduce mortality or morbidity. HFpEF is a heterogeneous clinical syndrome embracing varieties of phenotypes and could benefit from a phenotype-specific approach. In the era of precision medicine, targeted approaches have proved effective in various disciplinary medical settings and for this reason this modern approach should be encouraged also in cardiology. In elderly patients, multi-level strategies and interventions aimed at improving adherence to guidelines and tailoring therapy, could be the key to improving outcome, and to reducing costs related to HF-related re-admissions. In the present review we briefly discuss current information available regarding pathophysiology, outcome, treatment and safety of the most common drugs used in this "geriatric syndrome".