William J. Kostuk MD, FRCPC, FACC, FACP, Professor of Medicine, University of Western Ontario; Cardiologist, University Campus London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON.
Heart failure is the most rapidly rising cardiovascular condition in Canada. At times, the clinical presentation of heart failure may not make the diagnosis obvious. The diagnosis of heart failure should be considered when an older individual presents with complaints of exertional dyspnea or fatigue. In such individuals, the physician should not assume the symptoms are merely the result of age, obesity or chest disease. Physical examination and a few simple investigations,reviewed here, can be extremely helpful and may delay or even prevent the progression to symptomatic disease.
Key words: heart failure, diagnosis, dyspnea, fatigue, evaluation in older adults.