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Am J Geriatr Cardiol. 2001 Jul-Aug;10(4):188-92.

Outpatient cardiac infusion units: impact in elderly patients with refractory heart failure.

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Division of Cardiology, The Buffalo General Hospital, State University of New York at Buffalo, NY 14203, USA.



The use of intermittent intravenous infusions of inotropic drugs is under evaluation in the management of patients with refractory heart failure.


We investigated the impact of intermittent outpatient infusions of inotropes on hospital admissions, emergency room visits, functional class, and symptom-free interval after administration of inotropes to elderly patients with advanced heart failure symptoms.


This retrospective analysis involved 24 elderly outpatients with a New York Heart Association class of III or IV and refractory heart failure symptoms.


Seven patients with class III heart failure (age 74A+/-4 years; left ventricular ejection fraction 27A+/-9%) and 17 patients of class IV (age 73A+/-4 years; LVEF 21A+/-10%) were included. Twenty patients were males. A total of 365 outpatient treatment sessions were administered, with 15A+/-9 sessions per patient (range, 6-43). Eleven patients improved and were discharged; seven patients died; three discontinued treatment; two patients remain on therapy; and one patient required continuous infusion. During this treatment, there were only three emergency room visits and six hospital admissions due solely to heart failure. Fourteen patients required no emergency room visits or hospitalization. Of the patients discharged from the program, the interval without heart failure symptoms ranged from 60-356 days, with an improvement in NYHA class from 3.5A+/-0.6 to 1.4A+/-0.5 and no emergency room visits or hospital admissions.


This type of therapy is well tolerated among elderly patients with refractory heart failure symptoms and its use deserves further investigation.

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