Appropriateness of medications prescribed to elderly patients with advanced heart failure and limited life expectancy who died during hospitalization

Montserrat Barceló, Olga Torres, Domingo Ruiz, Jordi Casademont

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14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and objectives: Drug therapy in patients with advanced heart failure and limited life expectancy may be of no benefit or even inappropriate. The aim of this study was to analyze the appropriateness of medication prescribed to patients with advanced heart failure and limited life expectancy, considering as such an expected median survival of less than 6 months. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed data on all patients with advanced heart failure who met criteria for limited life expectancy and who died in the geriatric ward of a tertiary hospital over a four-and-a-half-year period. We analyzed treatments prescribed before admission, especially drugs used for prophylaxis or to prolong life. Results: A total of 72 patients were included. The mean age was 85.4 years, and 52.3 % were women. Mean Charlson index was 3.2. Prophylactic medications taken by patients at admission were antiplatelets in 40 patients (55.6 %), oral anticoagulants in 17 (23.6 %), statins in 14 (19.4 %), and osteoporosis medication in nine (12.5 %). Medications taken to prolong survival were angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor antagonists in 29 patients (40.3 %). Other medications were iron supplements in 19 patients (26.4 %), vitamins in two (2.8 %), and acetylcholinesterase inhibitors in two (2.8 %). Conclusions: Our results show that patients with advanced heart failure and limited life expectancy were receiving an excessive number of prophylactic medications, drugs to prolong life, and other inappropriate treatments. These findings emphasize the need to review drug therapy in an individualized manner in elderly patients with advanced stages of heart disease and a poor prognosis. © 2014 Springer International Publishing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-546
JournalDrugs and Aging
Volume31
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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