Elderly Patients Are Living Longer After Heart Attacks
May be due to greater use of cardiovascular medications after hospital discharge
TUESDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly patients who have experienced a heart attack are living longer, and this improved mortality appears to be due to more widespread use of cardiovascular medications such as statins, beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin-II receptor blockers and antiplatelet drugs during the last decade, according to an article published in the April 1 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Soko Setoguchi, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues examined Medicare and pharmacy assistance program data from 21,484 elderly patients (mean age 80 years) who had experienced a myocardial infarction and survived at least 30 days after discharge, in order to investigate the relationship between increasing use of cardiovascular medications and trends in long-term survival after myocardial infarction.
After adjusting for demographics and comorbidities, the researchers found that mortality rates after myocardial infarction declined by an average of 3 percent per year during the period of 1995 to 2004. Controlling for use of statins, beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin-II receptor blockers and antiplatelet drugs eliminated the association between time trends and mortality, suggesting that these therapies were responsible for the improvements in survival.
"These data should encourage clinicians to continue use of these proven therapies in the management of elderly patients after myocardial infarction," the authors conclude.