[Elderly heart failure patients and the role of beta-blocker therapy].
ABSTRACT In this article different aspects of chronic heart failure in old age are described. We mainly focus on the place of beta-blocker therapy in chronic heart failure. Beta-blockers are recommended for the treatment of stable chronic heart failure with left ventricular systolic dysfunction. There is additional information from recent studies that there is proven efficacy for beta-blocker therapy in patients with heart failure up to the age of 80 years. For patients with heart failure aged 80 and over the evidence to prescribe beta-blockers is limited. However, it is known that also in very elderly patients beta-blocker therapy is well tolerated. In patients with heart failure with preserved systolic ventricular function there is still no evidence that there is a beneficial effect of beta-blockers. It is still not clear if there are differences between beta-blocking agents. Of all beta-blockers, only bisoprolol, carvedilol, nebivolol and metoprolol CR are proven effective in stable chronic heart failure with impaired left ventricular systolic function and can be recommended in elderly patients on standard treatment with diuretics and ACE inhibition.