Background: It is not clear if the downward trend in cardiovascular disease (CVD) observed for ages up to 85 years can be extended to the oldest old, those 85 years and above.
Methods and findings: This nationwide cohort study presents age specific trends of CVD as well as for myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke separately for the period 1994 to 2010 for individuals 85 to 99 years old in Sweden. Data were extracted from national registries. All analyses were based on one-year age- and sex- specific figures. The risk for CVD increased with every age above 85 years although the rate of increase leveled off with age. Over time, the risk for CVD and MI decreased for all ages, and for stroke for ages up to 89 years. However, the risk of MI increased until around 2001 in all age groups and both sexes but decreased after that. The overall mortality improved for all outcomes over the period 1994 to 2010, so did the survival within 28 days from an event. The average annual decline in mortality over all ages, 85 and above was 3% for MI, 2% for stroke and for 2% CVD. Corresponding figures for ages 60-84 was 4% for each of MI, stroke and CVD. The results were similar for men and women.
Conclusions: Improvements in CVD risks observed among ages up to 85 years appear to have extended also to ages above 85 years, even if the rate of improvement plateaued with age. The improvements in survival for all ages up to 99 years give no support to the hypothesis that more fragile individuals reach higher ages. Additional research is needed to find out if improvement in survival can be seen also for the second and third event of CVD, stroke and MI.