Geriatric Cardiology and Blood Pressure

  • Edmund H. DuthieJr.
  • Michael H. KeelanJr.


Degenerative disease of the cardiovascular system remains the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the elderly patient. Coronary artery disease accounts for approximately 40% of all deaths beyond age 55 years.1 An impressive reduction in fatalities due to ischemic heart disease has been seen in the United States during the past 15 years. This favorable statistic applies to both sexes, whites and nonwhites, and patients over age 65 years as well. For white males age 65 to 74 years, the death rate from ischemic heart disease has fallen from 2119 per 100,000 in 1968 to 1642 per 100,000 in 1977.1 The decrease in mortality has not been accompanied by a comparable reduction in the incidence of coronary attacks (Fra-mingham study).2 Nonetheless, reduction in mortality does appear to be real and there are multifactoral explanations for it. Change in smoking habits, awareness of diet, better physical fitness, new pharmacologic agents, and coronary bypass all play a responsible role. Other therapeutic advances, particularly in the prevention and treatment of rheumatic fever and the surgical treatment of cardiac disease, have increased the lifespan of cardiac patients. Degenerative disease superimposed on preexisting valvular heart disease has resulted in an increasing population of elderly patients with “hybrid” heart disease. Appropriate therapy depends on early recognition of the underlying disease process and understanding its pathophysiology.


Aortic Stenosis Orthostatic Hypotension Multiple System Atrophy Renal Artery Stenosis Systolic Hypertension 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edmund H. DuthieJr.
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael H. KeelanJr.
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Section of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Department of MedicineThe Medical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.Nursing Home Care UnitWood Veterans Administration Medical CenterWoodUSA
  3. 3.Section of Cardiology, Department of MedicineThe Medical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  4. 4.Milwaukee County Medical CenterMilwaukeeUSA

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