PURPOSE: Elderly patients, especially those 80 years of age and older, have been excluded from most studies of thrombolysis or primary coronary angioplasty in patients with acute myocardial infarction. We compared the outcomes of elderly patients who underwent coronary angioplasty with the outcomes of younger patients and determined whether there were any temporal trends in survival. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We reviewed the outcomes of 1,597 consecutive patients who underwent primary coronary angioplasty between 1979 and 1997, including 127 patients who were 80 years of age or older (mean [±SD] age, 83 ± 3 years, 47% male). Their in-hospital and long-term outcomes were compared with those of 524 patients who were 70 to 79 years old, 527 patients who were 60 to 69 years old, and 419 patients who were 50 to 59 years old. The oldest group of patients was divided into two groups, based on whether they had intervention through the end of 1993 (n = 56) or between 1994 and 1997 (n = 71). The survival rate of the patients who had no complications and left the hospital was compared with expected survival based on age- and sex-adjusted data. RESULTS: Patients 80 years of age or older had more adverse baseline characteristics, including risk factors and comorbid conditions, than the younger patients. The clinical success rate of primary angioplasty in this group was lower than those in the other three groups (61% versus 74% in those aged 70 to 79 years, 73% in those aged 60 to 69 years, and 81% in those aged 50 to 59 years, P < 0.001). The in-hospital mortality rate among patients 80 years of age or older was significantly greater than among patients in the other three groups (21% in those aged 80 years or older, 13% in those aged 70 to 79 years, 9% in those aged 60 to 69 years, and 4% in those aged 50 to 59 years, P < 0.001). The clinical success rate of the angioplasty improved significantly in the more recent period (75% versus 45%, P = 0.0006) and in-hospital mortality declined (16% versus 29%, P = 0.07). During follow-up, mortality in the oldest age group in whom angioplasty was successful was significantly greater than in the three younger groups, but was similar to the expected survival in the general US population. CONCLUSIONS: The mortality associated with primary angioplasty for acute myocardial infarction in octogenarians remains high, although there has been significant improvement in the clinical success rate. The long-term prognosis following a successful angioplasty is not different from that in an age- and sex-adjusted U.S. white population. (C) 2000 by Excerpta Medica, Inc.
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