A Review of the Literature
Alan K. Berger, MD, Sections of Cardiology and Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
While elderly patients (aged = 75 years) represent a small segment of the general population, they account for disproportionate morbidity and mortality associated with acute myocardial infarction. Consequently, the efficacy and utilization of reperfusion therapy--thrombolysis and primary coronary angioplasty/stenting--remain highly relevant. A randomized clinical trial of thrombolysis in the elderly has never been performed, although subgroup analyses have suggested a benefit. The effectiveness of thrombolysis in the elderly has been challenged by observational studies documenting unexpectedly high mortality. The efficacy of primary coronary angioplasty/stenting is now well established and growing evidence suggests this approach is superior to thrombolysis in the elderly.
Key words: geriatrics, thrombolysis, primary coronary angioplasty, acute myocardial infarction, guidelines.