Congestive Heart Failure in the Elderly - A Nursing Approach

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Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a foremost health problem worldwide, touching 4.8 million U.S. patients and accounts for 978,000 or 5-10% of all hospitalizations. Some estimates show 550,000 new cases of CHF diagnosed each year in the United States alone. Currently, CHF accounts for 20% of all discharges in the over age 65 categories; with the aging demographic, this statistic is expected to increase significantly. Overall, the cost of treating CHF is very high -$38 billion annually in the U.S., representing 5.4% of total health care costs and involves many physician visits - at least 11 million ambulatory visits per year. The mortality rate for CHF is high, with one in five persons dying within 1 year, more than half of the CHF patients dying within 5 years, and sudden death occurring at a rate of six to nine times that of the general population. One in five of all discharged patients age 65 and older had CHF as a primary or secondary diagnosis (Congestive Heart Failure, 2011, p. 1).

Congestive heart failure is a progressive disease that causes weakening of the heart and cardiovascular system. It develops when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the demands of the body’s other organs. CHF is a progressive disorder that not only affects the heart, but other organs such as the lungs, the kidneys (Congestive Heart Failure in the Elderly, 2009, p. 1). Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a very common disease among the elderly. Diagnosis may be challenging since distinctive signs are often absent or masked in older people. Though there is no cure for CHF, it can be managed well with lifestyle changes and treatment so many seniors return to a full life. The other problem is elderly patients with heart failure may have ot...

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Saczynski, J. S., Darling, C. E., Spencer, F. A., Lessard, D., Gore, J. M., & Goldberg, R. J. (2009, September). Clinical features, treatment practices, and hospital and long-term outcomes of older patients hospitalized with decompensated heart failure: the Worcester Heart Failure Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 57, 1587-1594. Retrieved from

Wireless, Batteryless Implantable Medical Products. (2011). Retrieved from
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