Diagnosis of Heart Failure in Older Adults
Methods for the diagnosis of heart failure in old and young age do not have significant differences. However, when working with a patient of mature age, it is especially important to listen to them carefully, because a number of elderly people suffer from memory impairment. To confirm the preliminary diagnosis of heart failure in old age, hardware and laboratory tests can be suggested by your health care provider. To assess the condition of the valvular apparatus and myocardium, the below may be conducted:
- Electrocardiography with minimal stress tests;
- Total chest radiograph (in two projections);
- Doppler ultrasound.
- The following laboratory values are extremely important:
- Complete blood count with leukocyte formula;
- Residual nitrogen and blood bilirubin;
- The sugar and protein content in the blood as well as the urine;
- Transaminase and lactate dehydrogenase enzymes;
- Triglycerides, and lipoproteins.
To determine the presence of unusual noise in the lungs, which is caused by fluid accumulation in the alveoli, the doctor may use a stethoscope or prescribes an x-ray examination. The noise that arises in the patient’s heart when filled with blood and its release is subject to careful study. To assess the degree of swelling of an elderly person’s limbs, a doctor presses a finger on a specific area of skin and records the time it takes to return it to its original state.
An important sign of heart failure in old age, indicating a lack of oxygen in the blood, is cyanosis (blue limbs), which is often accompanied by chills. To understand whether the disease has led to changes in the parameters of the heart, the patient is sent to the echo and radionuclide cardiogram. To identify sites of vascular occlusion and pressure measurement in the heart chambers, a heart catheterization is performed, during which a thin tube is inserted directly into the heart muscle through a vein or artery.
To determine changes in the rhythm and size of the heart, as well as the effectiveness of the prescribed treatment, an electrocardiogram (ECG) is prescribed to the patient. In the early stages of heart failure in the elderly, the kidneys begin to produce the hormone renin, which prevents the excretion of salt and water in the urine, returning them to the blood. Because of this, the pressure rises and the volume of circulating blood increases. Thus, the elderly patient’s body tries to provide the brain and other vital organs with sufficient oxygen. However, the heart cannot endlessly work in an enhanced mode, therefore this mechanism is effective only in the early stages of the disease. About Medigap: Senior citizens in the US can use Medicare supplement plans located at www.bestmedicaresupplementplans2019.com/aarp-medicare-supplement-2019/ supplements for covering costs including co-insurance, & deductibles.