Abstract

Older adults with cardiovascular disease are frequently admitted to cardiac intensive care units (CICUs), where care is commensurate with high age-related cardiovascular disease risks but where the associated geriatric conditions (including multimorbidity, polypharmacy, cognitive decline and delirium, and frailty) may be inadvertently exacerbated and destabilized. The CICU environment of procedures, new medications, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, prolonged bed rest, malnourishment, and sleep is usually inherently disruptive to older patients regardless of the excellence of cardiovascular disease care. In this American Heart Association statement, we examine age-related risks and describe some of the distinctive dynamics pertinent to older adults and emerging opportunities to enhance CICU care. Relevant assessment tools are discussed, as well as the need for additional clinical research to best advance CICU care for the already dominating and still expanding population of older adults.