Congestive heart failure and cognitive impairment in the elderly

F. Rengo, D. Acanfora, L. Trojano, P. Scognamiglio, F. Ciaburri, A. Ceriello, O. F. Bollella, T. Lanzillo, A. Papa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Congestive heart failure (CHF) represents the most frequent cause of death and disability in the elderly. The prevalence of impairment of cognitive abilities is very high in aging and several clinical studies have demonstrated high association between cardiovascular diseases (in particular CHF) and cognitive deterioration. However, little attention has been paid to the decline of cognitive functioning during congestive heart failure in elderly patients. In this paper an overview of studies investigating this association is offered, suggesting that hemodynamic alterations due to heart failure and cognitive deteriorations are very frequently associated in aging, increasing morbidity and mortality risks. Moreover, preliminary results of a prospective study on hospitalized elderly patients with heart disease are reported (CHF Italian Study). These data show that some psychosocial variables (illiteracy, depression, and particularly cognitive deterioration) determine a significant increase of the risk to develop heart failure. This paper confirms that a multidimensional approach is necessary to better characterize and treat elderly patients, in particular those with CHF. More attention should be paid to encourage mild physical activity, to provide emotional support to patients and also to assess their general cognitive abilities. Studies on large populations of patients with heart disease have to be designed to investigate psychosocial and cognitive status in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Cognitive functions
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Elderly
  • Heart disease
  • Psychosocial assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine(all)


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