Impact of age on management and outcome of acute coronary syndrome: observations from the Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events (GRACE)

UMMS Affiliation

Center for Outcomes Research; Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Age Factors; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Angina, Unstable; Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary; Coronary Artery Bypass; Female; Hospital Mortality; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Myocardial Infarction; Outcome Assessment (Health Care); Registries; Thrombolytic Therapy


Health Services Research


BACKGROUND: Evidence-based cardiac therapies are underutilized in elderly patients. We assessed differences in practice patterns, comorbidities, and in-hospital event rates, by age and type of acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

METHODS: We studied 24165 ACS patients in 102 hospitals in 14 countries stratified by age.

RESULTS: Approximately two-thirds of patientswere men, but this proportion decreased with age. In elderly patients (> or = 65 years), history of angina, transient ischemic attack/stroke, myocardial infarction(MI), congestive heart failure, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, hypertension or atrial fibrillation were more common, and delay in seeking medical attention and non-ST-segment elevation MI were significantly higher. Aspirin, beta-blockers, thrombolytic therapy, statins and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors were prescribed less, while calcium antagonists and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors were prescribed more often to elderly patients. Unfractionated heparin was prescribed more often in young patients, while low-molecular-weight heparins were similarly prescribed across all age groups. Coronary angiography and percutaneous intervention rates significantly decreased with age. The rate of CABG surgery was highest among patients aged 65-74 years (8.1%) and 55-64 years (7.7%), but reduced in the youngest (4.7%) and oldest (2.7%) groups. Major bleeding rates were 2-3% among patients aged < 65 years, and > 6% in those > or = 85 years. Hospital-mortality rates, adjusted for baseline risk differences, increased with age (odds ratio: 15.7 in patients > or = 85 years compared with those < 45 years).

CONCLUSIONS: Many elderly ACS patients do not receive evidence-based therapies, highlighting the need for clinical trials targeted specifically at elderly cohorts, and quality-of-care programs that reinforce the use of such therapies among these individuals.

DOI of Published Version



Am Heart J. 2005 Jan;149(1):67-73. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American heart journal

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID