Drugs Don't Boost Survival in Older Heart Failure Patients

Study advocates judicious use of cardiac medications to avoid adverse drug effects

THURSDAY, Mar. 12 (HealthDay News) -- People over 80 years of age who have heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, a prevalent condition in the elderly, do not benefit significantly from commonly prescribed cardiac medications, according to research published in the Mar. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Faramarz Tehrani, M.D., of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues evaluated 142 patients with heart failure and preserved left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) who had an average age of 87. The medications used by the patients included statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin II receptor blockers, beta blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers, nitrates and digoxin. The cohort was followed for five years, during which time 98 patients (69 percent) died.

At five years, the investigators found no significant differences in baseline parameters between the patients who died and those who survived, nor did any medication show a significant decrease for adjusted all-cause death or cardiac rehospitalization or make a significant difference in long-term survival.

"The risk of adverse drug effects is high in the geriatric population because of polypharmacy and altered pharmacokinetics, and judicious use of medications should be advocated. In patients over 80 years with heart failure and preserved LVEF, there was no proven benefit for pharmacologic therapy," the authors write.

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Jeff Muise

Jeff Muise

Updated on March 12, 2009

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