Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction in the elderly: Scope of the problem

Bharathi Upadhya, George E. Taffet, Che Ping Cheng, Dalane W. Kitzman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is the most common form of heart failure (HF) in older adults, particularly women, and is increasing in prevalence as the population ages. With morbidity and mortality on par with HF with reduced ejection fraction, it remains a most challenging clinical syndrome for the practicing clinician and basic research scientist. Originally considered to be predominantly caused by diastolic dysfunction, more recent insights indicate that HFpEF in older persons is typified by a broad range of cardiac and non-cardiac abnormalities and reduced reserve capacity in multiple organ systems. The globally reduced reserve capacity is driven by: 1) inherent age-related changes; 2) multiple, concomitant co-morbidities; 3) HFpEF itself, which is likely a systemic disorder. These insights help explain why: 1) co-morbidities are among the strongest predictors of outcomes; 2) approximately 50% of clinical events in HFpEF patients are non-cardiovascular; 3) clinical drug trials in HFpEF have been negative on their primary outcomes. Embracing HFpEF as a true geriatric syndrome, with complex, multi-factorial pathophysiology and clinical heterogeneity could provide new mechanistic insights and opportunities for progress in management. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled CV Aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-87
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Aging
  • Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction
  • Review
  • Systemic disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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