ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular disease accounts for significant morbidity and mortality in the elderly. Despite several, large cardiovascular clinical trials, data to guide therapy in this growing population subset are relatively limited. This review focuses on treatment approaches and recommendations for the management of elderly patients with acute myocardial infarction (MI) obtained from subgroup analyses from major clinical trials.Treatment options for acute MI in the elderly have changed dramatically since the 1990s. Reperfusion therapy by primary percutaneous coronary intervention has superseded the use of thrombolytic therapy for the treatment of acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Clinical trial data have demonstrated that even transferring patients to facilities that have primary angioplasty capabilities is better than thrombolytic therapy, if the anticipated transfer time is of acceptable duration. Additionally, adjunctive use of the intravenous glycoprotein (GP) receptor antagonist, abciximab, during primary angioplasty affords a reduction in the composite primary end point of death, reinfarction, and target vessel revascularization, with much of the benefit derived from the latter. Thrombolytic therapy, barring any contraindication, must be used when mechanical revascularization is not available; however, the risk for complications in the elderly is higher, especially for those 75 years and older. Studies investigating the use of thrombolytics plus GP receptor antagonists with and without percutaneous coronary intervention show questionable benefit in the elderly.
MedGenMed: Medscape general medicine 02/2005; 7(1):73.