The association between older age and receipt of care and outcomes in patients with acute coronary syndromes

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Aims: Older people increasingly constitute a large proportion of the acute coronary syndrome (ACS) population. We examined the relationship of age with receipt of more intensive management and secondary prevention medicine. Then, the comparative association of intensive management (reperfusion/angiography) over a conservative strategy on time to death was investigated by age.

Methods and results: Using data from 155 818 patients in the national registry for ACS in England and Wales [the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP)], we found that older patients were incrementally less likely to receive secondary prevention medicines and intensive management for both ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI). In STEMI patients ≥85 years, 55% received reperfusion compared with 84% in those aged 18 to <65 [odds ratio 0.22 (95% CI 0.21, 0.24)]. Not receiving intensive management was associated with worse survival [mean follow-up 2.29 years (SD 1.42)] in all age groups (adjusted for sex, cardiovascular risk factors, co-morbidities, healthcare factors, and case severity), but there was an incremental reduction in survival benefit from intensive management with increasing age. In STEMI patients aged 18–64, 65–74, 75–84, and ≥85, adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for all-cause mortality comparing conservative treatment to intensive management were 1.98 (1.78, 2.19), 1.65 (1.51, 1.80), 1.62 (1.52, 1.72), and 1.36 (1.27, 1.47), respectively. In NSTEMI patients, the respective HRs were 4.37 (4.00, 4.78), 3.76 (3.54, 3.99), 2.79 (2.67, 2.91), and 1.90 (1.77, 2.04).

Conclusion: We found an incremental reduction in the use of evidence-based therapies with increasing age using a national ACS registry cohort. While survival benefit from more intensive management reduced with older age, better survival was associated with intensive management at all ages highlighting the requirement to improve standard of care in older patients with ACS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1551-1558
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number23
Early online date18 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Acute Coronary Syndrome
  • Age
  • Elderly
  • Prognosis

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