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May 1989

Age-Related Hemodynamic, Renal, and Hormonal Differences Among Patients With Congestive Heart Failure

Author Affiliations

From The Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine, The New York Hospital–Cornell University Medical College, New York, NY. Dr Cody is now with the Cardiology Division, The Ohio State University Medical College and Hospital, Columbus.

Arch Intern Med. 1989;149(5):1023-1028. doi:10.1001/archinte.1989.00390050029006

• The purpose of this study was to determine if there were characteristics that distinguish elderly patients with heart failure (65 years of age) from younger patients with heart failure. We studied 128 consecutively admitted patients with chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) under uniform conditions, with measurement of systemic hemodynamics, vasoactive hormones and sodium status, and renal function. Additional characterization included the hemodynamic response to gravitational stress (head-up tilt; n = 65), and renal blood flow and function by steady-state clearance techniques (n = 46). Compared with younger patients with CHF, there was a greater frequency of ischemic heart disease in the elderly patients with CHF. Within the CHF population there was an increase of systemic vascular resistance and a trend of decreased heart rate with aging. Heart rate responsiveness was attenuated during tilt according to age. Circulating norepinephrine increased with aging, but a clear-cut age-related effect was not observed for renin system activity or sodium status. Both serum urea nitrogen and serum creatinine increased with age. More detailed renal studies confirmed an age-related decrease of glomerular filtration rate and a noncompensatory filtration fraction, despite increasing renal vascular resistance. We conclude that elderly patients with CHF have relatively greater vasoconstriction (or decreased compliance) and blunted heart rate responsiveness associated with increased circulating norepinephrine. Furthermore, renal function in the elderly patient with CHF is markedly compromised. These findings are consistent with superimposition of an aging effect on the CHF process, which must be considered in evaluating the response to drug therapy and the outcome of multicenter CHF trials.

(Arch Intern Med. 1989;149:1023-1028)