Coronary artery angioplasty or bypass is being performed for increasing numbers of patients in their seventh, eighth, ninth and even tenth decades of life. Because of the cost involved, justification for performing these procedures in the elderly has become a topic of daily discussion among those responsible for funding healthcare. Both silent and overt coronary artery disease (CAD) are more common in the population over 65 years of age. Because CAD in the elderly often presents in an atypical manner, diagnosis of the disease is frequently delayed. Partly because of the delayed diagnosis and partly because of cost considerations, coronary arterial bypass (CABG) is more often performed as an emergency procedure in the elderly with the results that both operative mortality and costs are increased over those observed in a younger population. Nevertheless, it is clear that performance of coronary revascularization procedures in the elderly can both prolong life and improve the quality of life beyond what can be achieved using alternative methods of treatment. Greater efforts directed toward detection of ischemic heart disease in the these patients and earlier, elective surgery could significantly reduce both the mortality and disability associated with CAD in the elderly.