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Can J Cardiol. 2016 Sep;32(9):1097-107. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2016.04.003. Epub 2016 Apr 20.

Patient-Centred Care of Older Adults With Cardiovascular Disease and Multiple Chronic Conditions.

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Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Division of Gerontology, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA. Electronic address:


Multimorbidity, defined as the presence of 2 or more chronic conditions, is common among older adults with cardiovascular disease. These individuals are at increased risk for poor health outcomes and account for a large proportion of health care utilization. Clinicians are challenged with the heterogeneity of this population, the complexity of the treatment regimen, limited high-quality evidence, and fragmented health care systems. Each treatment recommended by a clinical practice guideline for a single cardiovascular disease might be rational, but the combination of all evidence-based recommendations can be impractical or even harmful to individuals with multimorbidity. These challenges can be overcome with a patient-centred approach that incorporates the individual's preferences, relevant evidence, the overall and condition-specific prognosis, clinical feasibility of treatments, and interactions with other treatments and coexisting chronic conditions. The ultimate goal is to maximize benefits and minimize harms by optimizing adherence to the most essential treatments, while acknowledging trade-offs between treatments for different health conditions. It might be necessary to discontinue therapies that are not essential or potentially harmful to decrease the risk of drug-drug and drug-disease interactions from polypharmacy. A decision to initiate, withhold, or stop a treatment should be on the basis of the time horizon to benefits vs the individual's prognosis. In this review, we illustrate how cardiologists and general practitioners can adopt a patient-centred approach to focus on the aspects of cardiovascular and noncardiovascular health that have the greatest effect on functioning and quality of life in older adults with cardiovascular disease and multimorbidity.

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