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Treatment of heart failure in older persons. Dilemmas with coexisting conditions: diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and arthritis.

Author(s): Aronow WS

Affiliation(s): Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY 10595, USA. WSArnow@aol.com

Publication date & source: 2003-05, Congest Heart Fail., 9(3):142-7.

Publication type: Review

Diabetes mellitus is a risk factor for congestive heart failure. Diabetics with congestive heart failure should have good glycemic control, treatment of hypertension and dyslipidemia, and treatment with diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and beta blockers as well as digoxin, if the left ventricular ejection fraction is abnormal. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may have left ventricular failure because of a coexistent cardiac disorder or right ventricular failure from pulmonary hypertension. An acute respiratory tract infection may precipitate right ventricular failure and should be treated. Alveolar hypoxia should be corrected by improving alveolar ventilation through relieving airflow obstruction with bronchodilators and by increasing inspired oxygen concentration. Loop diuretics should be used cautiously. Beta blockers may be given to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and left ventricular failure if bronchospasm is not present. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors should be used to treat left ventricular failure. Digitalis should not be used in patients with right ventricular failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are contraindicated in patients with congestive heart failure. There are controversial data about the negative interaction between aspirin and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors in patients with congestive heart failure. Patients with arthritis and congestive heart failure needing large doses of aspirin for pain relief may be treated instead with acetaminophen, tramadol, or Percocet if necessary for chronic severe pain.

Page last updated: 2006-01-31

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