The risk of hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction among older adults


Background. The purpose of this study was to prospectively examine the risk of hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in a large, nationally representative sample of very old men and women. Methods. We utilized secondary analysis of the Longitudinal Study of Aging. Baseline (1984) in-person interview data were linked to Medicare hospitalization records for 1984-1991. Subjects were 6,071 noninstitutionalized adults 70 years old or older at baseline. Hospitalization for AMI was defined as having primary discharge diagnoses containing ICD9-CM 410 codes. Multivariable proportional hazards regression was used to evaluate the epidemiologic risks for all persons, and separately for women, men, self-respondents, those with no previous AMIs, and those with no history of coronary heart disease. Results. Of the sample, 357 persons (5.9%; 172 women and 185 men) had at least one primary discharge diagnosis of AMI. Significant (p < .05) risk factors for being hospitalized with an AMI (adjusted hazards ratios in parentheses) from the pooled analysis were male gender (1.86), having no more than a grade school education (1.35), atherosclerosis (1.43), hypertension (1.29), coronary heart disease (1.63), angina (1.60), previous AMI (1.52), diabetes (1.89), and four or more lower body limitations (1.43). The gender- specific analyses, however, revealed that hypertension, angina, diabetes, and lower body limitations were risk factors only for women, and that having no more than a grade school education was a risk factor only for men. Conclusion. Men, especially those with low education, women with diabetes, angina, hypertension, or lower body limitations, and either men or women with previous AMIs, coronary heart disease, or atherosclerosis have elevated risks for AMI resulting in hospitalization, and they should be considered for evaluation and monitoring. Current protocols for therapeutic management should be adopted, and compliance should be encouraged.

Publication Title

Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences