Objectives: The influence of race and age on thrombolytic therapy, invasive cardiac procedures and outcomes was assessed in a Veterans Affairs teaching hospital. The influence of Q wave evolution on the use of invasive cardiac procedures and outcome was also assessed.
Background: It is not well known how early revascularization procedures for acute myocardial infarction are delivered or influence survival in a Veterans Affairs patient population.
Methods: From October 1993 to October 1995, all patients with myocardial infarction were identified by elevated creatine kinase, MB fraction (CK-MB) and one of the following: chest pain or shortness of breath during the preceding 24 h or electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormalities.
Results: Racial groups were similar in terms of age, time to ECG, peak CK and length of hospital stay. Mortality increased with age (odds ratio [OR] 1.93, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.33 to 2.81). A trend toward increased mortality occurred for race other than Caucasian. Patients meeting ECG criteria were given thrombolytic agents in 49% of cases, but age, comorbidity count and Hispanic race decreased the probability of thrombolytic use. Cardiac catheterization was performed more often after thrombolytic agents (OR 1.85, 95% CI 0.97 to 3.54), but less often in African-Americans (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.35 to 1.02), older patients (OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.64) or patients with heart failure (OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.52). Patients evolving non-Q wave infarctions were older and had increased comorbidity counts and trends toward increased mortality. Angioplasty was chosen less for patients > or = 65 years old (p = 0.02); angioplasty and coronary artery bypass graft surgery were performed less in patients > or = 70 years old (p = 0.02). Patients treated invasively had lower mortality rates than those treated medically (p < 0.02).
Conclusions: The use of thrombolytic agents and invasive treatment plans declined with age, and mortality increased with age. Trends toward increased mortality occurred with non-Q wave infarctions and race other than Caucasian.