Geriatric Cardiovascular Changes:
Dysrhythmias – decreased output can result in falls, syncope or TIAs
Cardiac output decreases due to decrease rate and stroke volume
Diastolic murmurs – thickened mitral and aortic valves
Changes in systolic BP due to increased peripheral resistence

Signs & Symptoms
Dizziness, blackouts – sudden position change (orthostatic hypotension)
Diuresis after laying down
Feelings of heart palpitations
Swelling in hands and feet
Weight gain without changes in eating habits
Difficulty breathing at night

*These can lead to activity intolerance, ineffective tissue perfusion, acute and chronic pain, decreased cardiac output

Interventions include:
Monitor BP lying, sitting, and standing, encourage changing positions slowly
Encourage low impact exercise, teach to avoid fatigue, frequent rest periods
Compare apical and radial pulses
Weigh daily


Potter, P. A., & Perry, A. G. (2009). Fundamentals of Nursing (7th ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby Elsevier.