Vol 19, No 4 (2012)
Original articles
Published online: 2012-07-09

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Management of elderly patients with troponin positive chest pain in a District General Hospital

Kulwinder S. Sandhu, Avtar Singh, Sunil K. Nadar
Cardiol J 2012;19(4):395-401.


Background: The number of elderly patients that present with an acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is increasing, reflecting the growing number of people in the general population in this age group. The various guidelines do not generally specify a management strategy in this elderly group and the management is often at the discretion of the treating physician. We conducted an audit within our Cardiology Department to compare our practice of management of ACS in the elderly population based on the European Society of Cardiology guidelines.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of the management of patients aged 80 and above that were admitted with troponin positive chest pain from 1st January to 31st December 2010. Patient information was primarily obtained from our computer data base system that includes blood results, ECHOs, diagnostic angiograms, discharge and clinic letters. If the information was inadequate we obtained patient files or contacted the relevant general practitioner.

Results: Octo-nonagenarians represented just over a third (35%) of all patients that were admitted with a troponin positive event during the study period. We noted a 10% mortality rate observed in our study population over a 12 month period. Atrial fibrillation was an incidental finding in 22% of patients. Nearly half of these patients (49%) were managed by the cardiologists. 68% of these patients underwent diagnostic coronary angiography, of which 32% went on to have percutaneous coronary intervention and 7% underwent surgical intervention. Majority (80%) of patients that underwent angioplasty had more than 1 stent and 74% of patients required more than one coronary vessel to be stented. The length of stay in hospital was double for patients who were under the care of the general medical teams rather than the cardiology team. This group also had a higher number of other comorbidities such as dementia, malignancy, a history of gastro intestinal bleeds and chronic renal impairment.

Conclusions: Octo and nonagenarians represent a significant proportion of our ACS patients. They have high mortality, greater number of comorbidities, diseased coronary vessels and if intervention was undertaken required more than one stent. Therefore, octo-nonagenarians represent a very complex group of patients. Guidelines and risk stratification are of limited value in this group as clinical trial data is currently lacking. Quality of life and risk to benefit assessments are of paramount importance in this group.

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