Management of acute myocardial infarction in the elderly

Daniel E. Forman, Michael W. Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The prevalence of myocardial infarction (MI) is high among the elderly population. Many of the physiological and morphological changes attributable to 'normal' aging predispose older adults to cardiovascular instability. The incidence of both MIs and their associated morbidity and mortality increase with aging. Older MI patients may therefore derive substantial benefit from appropriately selected therapeutic intervention. In fact, given the high morbidity and mortality associated with MI in the elderly, aggressive therapeutic strategies may be particularly warranted. There are a number of age-related cardiovascular changes that contribute to the increasing incidence of MI as adults age. However, age itself is not a contraindication to aggressive therapy. Common MI management options include invasive and pharmaceutical strategies. The relative advantages of angioplasty and thrombolytics must be considered. Other drugs used in the treatment of MI include β-blockers, ACE inhibitors, nitrates, aspirin, anticoagulants, magnesium, antiarrhythmics and calcium antagonists. Significant peri-infarction complications, including heart failure, hypotension, arrhythmias, myocardial rupture and cardiogenic shock, often occur in older adults. Age-specific management strategies for these complications are reviewed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-377
Number of pages20
JournalDrugs and Aging
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996


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