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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1986 Apr;34(4):263-6.

Changing presentation of myocardial infarction with increasing old age.


The symptoms associated with acute myocardial infarction in a series of 777 elderly hospitalized patients are reviewed. Their ages ranged from 65 to 100, with a mean of 76.0 years. The spectrum of presentation changed significantly with increasing age. Chest pain or discomfort were less frequently reported, although present in the majority of patients up to 85 years. Syncope, stroke, and acute confusion became more common and were often the sole presenting symptom. Shortness of breath, although the most frequently reported symptom in the absence of chest pain, was equally common at all ages. Thus, in patients aged 85 years or over, "atypical" presentation of myocardial infarction became the rule, and in the very old the clinician must be prepared to screen for the diagnosis in most acutely ill patients.

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