Post-myocardial infarction risk stratification in elderly patients.
BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to examine the use of post-myocardial infarction (MI) risk stratification in the elderly. Although expert panels have recommended risk stratification after MI, limited data are available on whether patients actually undergo suggested testing. In particular, concern has been raised that the elderly, who are at high risk for recurrent ischemia and short-term death, are not referred as often as younger patients for post-MI testing. METHODS: We studied the records of 192,311 Medicare patients (age > or = 65 years) admitted with MI between January 1992 and November 1992. By combining Medicare part A and part B data, we created a longitudinal record of patient care within 60 days of an MI admission. We describe the pattern of post-MI testing for ischemia and left ventricular function and outcomes as a function of patient age. RESULTS: Patients > or = 75 years of age were significantly less likely than patients 65 to 74 years of age to have either cardiac catheterization (17% vs 43%) or any test for coronary artery disease severity (24% vs 53%). They were also less likely to have a test of left ventricular function (61% vs 76%). Even after adjustment for baseline characteristics, older patients remained less likely than younger patients to have an assessment of coronary artery disease severity (odds ratio, 0.44) or left ventricular function (odds ratio, 0.65). CONCLUSIONS: Post-MI risk stratification declines with age and falls short of recommendations in our nation's elderly. This lack of testing may result in lost opportunities for therapeutic interventions in this high-risk group.
Alexander, KP; Galanos, AN; Jollis, JG; Stafford, JA; Peterson, ED
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