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Age‐Related Differences in Management of Heart Disease: A Study of Cardiac Medication Use in an Older Cohort



Previous studies have suggested suboptimal use of cardiac medications for secondary prevention after myocardial infarction (MI) and atrial fibrillation (AF), especially among older people.


To determine whether patients older than 75 years are less likely than those aged 65 to 74 to be prescribed medications with evidence-based indications, including angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors for left ventricular dysfunction (LVD) and/or diabetes mellitus (DM), aspirin and/or beta-blockers for those with a history of MI, and warfarin for chronic AF.


A retrospective cohort study.


Twenty-nine hospitals, predominantly tertiary-care institutions.


A total of 407 patients randomized to ventricular or dual-chamber pacing from February 26, 1993, to September 30, 1994, in the Pacemaker Selection in the Elderly (PASE) trial.


A review of the patient's medical history and a physical exam at study enrollment, three follow-up timepoints, and a study closeout.


Patients older than 75 years with LVD and/or DM were less likely to be prescribed ACE inhibitors (OR = .56 (0.31-1.00)); patients older than 75 with a history of MI were less likely to be taking aspirin (OR = .43 (0.19-.95)), and patients older than 75 with AF were less likely to be prescribed warfarin (OR = .18 (0.05-.61)). Patients older than 75 years of age with any or all of the conditions studied were less likely to be prescribed indicated medications than those ages 65 to 74 (OR = .35 (0.18-.70)), after controlling for between-group differences in comorbidity, gender, and number of noncardiac medications.


Older age is a significant independent negative correlate of evidence-based cardiac medication use in this cohort. Causes for this finding need to be explored.

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