Geriatric Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and becomes more and more common with age.  Around 83 million Americans are estimated to have one or more types of cardiovascular disease—and 42 million of them are age 60 or older.  At age 80 and older, 83% of women and 87% of men have some type of cardiovascular disease.

Most cardiovascular diseases are in fact diseases of aging.  The resources on this page look at a number of cardiovascular diseases including atrial fibrillation, aortic stenosis and other types of valve disease, and venous thromboembolism.  The resources are written for older patients, health care professionals, and caregivers; and are designed to educate, empower, and improve treatment and outcomes.   

 Atrial Fibrillation

Every year around 75,000 Americans learn that they have atrial fibrillation (AFib)—the most common type of arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm.  While the abnormal heart rhythm itself isn't generally serious; abnormal blood flow and strain to the heart can lead to serious medical conditions.  These conditions can be deadly—having AFib doubles a person's risk of death. 

In addition to leading a Task Force on the optimal treatment of AFib, and spearheading advocacy efforts to improve stroke risk reduction, the Alliance has produced a number of tools designed for patients and their loved ones.

Living with AFib is a short "pocket film" that gives patients and their loved ones an overivew of the disease including how you get it, how you treat it, and how you prevent Afib related strokes so you can live a long and healthy life with it. Also avialable in Spanish.



This accompanying pocket film Stroke Prevention in AFib gives viewers more detail on how AFib causes stroke, the role fraily and fall risk should play in treatment decision-making, and the importance of stroke prevention. Also avaiilable in Spanish.



This brochure contains much of the information from the Living wtih AFib and Stroke Prevention in AFib pocket films, but in a brochure format that patients can take with them and refer to when learning about the disease and making treatment decisions.



Find out how much you know by testing your AFib knowlege with the Living with AFib quiz.




 Venous Thromboembolism—DVT & PE

Venous thromboembolism, or VTE, is a term that includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.  It is common--affecting as many as 600,000 Americans.  While approximately half of all cases are related to hospitalization, there are numerous causes and risk factors that may cause VTE in non-hospitalied individuals.

Living with VTE is a short "pocket film" that helps viewers understand what VTE is, its relationship to deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, who is at risk, how to know if you have it, how it's treated, and how to prevent future occurences.  Also available in Spanish.



This brochure contains much of the information from the Living with VTE pocket film, but in a brochure format that patients can take with them and refer to when learnign about the disease and making treatment decisions.




Find out how much you know by testing your knowledge with the Living with VTE quiz.





 Valve Disease

As many as 5 million Americans are diagnosed with valve disease each year.  Valve disease involves damage to one or more of the heart's valves and while some types are not serious, others can lead to major complications—including death.  Valve defects can be there at birth or develop from damage later in life.  Fortunately, valve disease can usually be successfully treated with valve repair or replacement in patients of all ages. 

The Alliance has produced a number of resources on valve disease including:

​A short "pocket film" on valve disease in women that hights who is at risk, the different types of valve disease, signs and symptoms, treatment, and more




A workshop kit that provides all of the resources necessary for community leaders to present a workshop for women at risk for and diagnosed with valve disease.




Patient fact sheets that cover the basics of valve disease and empower patients to talk with their health care professionals and get engaged in their treatment plan




This website from the Alliance provides a one-stop online resource for valve disease patients and caregivers, with both original and aggregated content from a host of reliable sources. This content includes articles, podcasts, videos, and the stories of valve disease patients.




 An educational quiz that helps users find how how much they know about valve disease and how to learn more




Educational podcasts with informational interviews from a valve surgery patient, a cardiologist, and cardiac surgeon.



 Aortic Stenosis

Aortic stenosis is a type of heart disease where the main outlet for blood to be pumped to the body—the aortic valve—becomes narrowed over time.  It's more common with age and if left untreated, can lead to significantly decreased quality of life, heart failure, and even death.  Fortunately,  aortic stenosis (AS) can usually be treated with valve replacement in patients of all ages.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with AS, or may be experiencing its symptoms, talk with a health care professional about the disease and treatment options, and learn more through the Alliance's many resources on aortic stenosis in seniors.


This short "pocket film" gives a quick look at aortic stenosis—what it means to have the disease, how it's not a normal part of aging, what the latest treatment options are (including TAVR—the latest in valve replacement), and how people of all ages can be good candidates for replacement.



This brochure is designed for people who have been diagnosed with aortic stenosis or who may be at risk for the disease.  Learn more about what aortic stenosis is, how people get it, what the symptoms are, and what treatments are available.



This video series features Dr. Jamie Brown, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Maryland Heart Center and an associate professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  Dr. Brown covers the basics of aortic stenosis in these four short videos.



This podcast series provides valuable information and perspectives from a cardiologist and two aortic stenosis patients.




The Are You At Risk? Quiz helps users learn if they are at risk for aortic stenosis and teaches them more about the disease.  Users can also print out copies of their results to take to their next medical visit and start an important conversation. 

The After Your Diagnoses Quiz for those already diagnosed with aortic stenosis helps users learn more about diagnosis and treatment and also provides a copy of results for medical visits.


This guide for health care professionals includes important information on treating aortic stenosis, including highlights from the 2014 ACC/AHA practice guidelines on valve disease.



 Million Hearts

The Alliance for Aging Research is a partner in Million Hearts--a national initiative that was launched by the Department of Health and Human Services in September 2011 to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

Million Hearts® aims to prevent heart disease and stroke by:

  • Improving access to effective care.
  • Improving the quality of care for the ABCS.
  • Focusing clinical attention on the prevention of heart attack and stroke.
  • Activating the public to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle.
  • Improving the prescription and adherence to appropriate medications for the ABCS

Learn more .

 National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

The Alliance is a member of the National Forum that builds a collective voice for a heart-healthy and stroke-free society through its collaborative policy and programmatic efforts. Members include more than 80 US and international organizations representing public, private, health care, advocacy, academic, policy, and community sectors.  Learn more here.

 The Silver Book: Cardiovascular Disease

The Silver Book® is an almanac of thousands of facts, statistics, graphs, and data from hundreds of agencies, organizations, and experts. It is a searchable database, produced and updated by the Alliance, that provides free and easy access to the latest information on the burden of chronic diseases that disproportionately impact older Americans, and the value of investing in medical research.

Approximately 82 million Americans suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and close to 1 in 3 deaths result from CVD. These are not only deadly but costly diseases with CVD and stroke costing around $300 billion each year.  In order to raise awareness about the burden of cardiovascular disease, the Alliance has released Silver Book volumes on cardiovascular disease and thrombosis, and a fact sheet on atrial fibrillation.  Learn more and access all of the information on-line at