Heart Disease in Older Patients

Dick Fields, Public Affairs Officer

Dick Fields, Public Affairs Officer

Heart Disease in Older Patients: Older people with certain types of heart problems might benefit from aggressive treatment they might otherwise not receive because of their age. Researchers in Norway studied 458 patients 80 or above who had a type of heart attack that is initially mild but leads to poor outcomes after 6 months or longer, or a closely related condition called unstable angina. Both conditions, called Acute Coronary Syndrome, are caused by plaque buildup in the heart’s arteries. The patients were randomly assigned either conservative treatment- medication but no invasive procedure-or to undergo coronary angiography; of the latter, 48% later had balloon angiography and/or standing to widen narrowed arteries to keep them open. 3% had heart bypass surgery. On average followup of 18 months, those receiving more aggressive treatment were 47% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke or die. Let’s hope the more aggressive treatment is not banned because of its greater expense!


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