Non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome in the elderly: Treatment strategies and 30-day outcome

Stefano De Servi, Claudio Cavallini, Antonio Dellavalle, Giovanni Maria Santoro, Erminio Bonizzoni, Antonio Marzocchi, Alessandro Politi, Antonio Pesaresi, Matteo Mariani, Sergio Chierchia

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Background The purpose of this study was to assess the current care of elderly patients with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome (ACS), with particular regard to the rate of use of antiplatelet drugs and the type of strategy, aggressive or conservative, in a population of consecutive patients admitted to 76 Coronary Care Units in Italy. Methods Prospective registry of patients admitted to Coronary Care Units with a diagnosis of non-ST-elevation ACS during a 2-month period. Thirty-day follow-up was available in all patients. Results Of 1581 patients enrolled in the registry, 564 were 75 years or older. As compared with the 1017 younger patients, elderly patients had a greater prevalence of female sex (42% vs 27%, P <.001), hypertension (70% vs 59%, P <.001), prior myocardial infarction (MI) (41% vs 29%, P <.001), prior angina (18% vs 13%, P <.01), prior use of aspirin (49% vs 39%, P <.001), ST-segment depression (54% vs 43%, P <.001), and troponin positivity (66% vs 59%, P <.05). The higher-risk profile of elderly patients was confirmed by the greater number of patients with a high TIMI risk score (37% vs 22%, P <.001). GPIIb/IIIa inhibitors were less frequently used in elderly patients (P <.05). An aggressive strategy (coronary arteriography within 4 days of admission, followed by revascularization, if feasible) was adopted in 39% elderly patients and in 56% younger patients (P <.001). An interventional procedure within 30 days was performed in 30% of elderly patients and 48% of younger patients (P <.001). Elderly patients had a more unfavorable 30-day outcome compared with younger ones, as shown by the higher rates of death (6.4% vs 1.7%), acute myocardial infarction (7.1% vs 5%), and stroke (1.3% vs 0.5%). Multivariate analysis of the elderly group identified a conservative strategy (OR, 2.31; 95% CI, 1.20 to 4.48) and a diagnosis of non-Q-wave MI (OR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.32 to 3.93) as independent predictors of 30-day events. Conclusions The elderly represent a very high-risk subgroup among patients with non-ST-elevation ACS, with a nearly 4-fold as high 30-day death rate as that of younger patients. These data call for a greater attention to such population, both in terms of an improved representation in clinical research and of the assessment of the outcome of different strategies in appropriately designed randomized trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)830-836
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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