Age and the utilization of cardiac catheterization following uncomplicated first acute myocardial infarction treated with thrombolytic therapy (The Second National Registry of Myocardial Infarction [NRMI-2])
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Considerable data indicates that patients <50 years of age have lower morbidity and mortality after acute myocardial infarction (AMI) than older patients. It has been demonstrated that use of routine cardiac catheterization and revascularization in younger patients with AMI and successful thrombolysis does not confer benefit compared with a more conservative approach. Despite this, it has been our impression that cardiac catheterization is frequently employed in younger patients with AMI. Patients with uncomplicated initial AMI treated with thrombolytic therapy in the Second National Registry of Myocardial Infarction (NRMI-2) between June 1994 and April 1998 were identified. Patients were categorized into 4 age strata for purposes of analysis. A total of 61,232 cases met our inclusion criteria. Cardiac catheterization was performed during hospitalization in 78% of patients after an uncomplicated initial AMI. Age was inversely associated with receipt of cardiac catheterization: 85% of those < or =49 years old underwent catheterization compared with 63% of those > or =70 years old. Regression analysis revealed that use of catheterization was 2.9 times greater (95% confidence intervals 2.7 to 3.2) in patients < or =49 years old compared with those > or =70 years old. Geographic location and payor status also strongly influenced utilization of this procedure. In conclusion, routine coronary angiography after uncomplicated AMI is extensively utilized in all age groups, particularly in those <50 years of age. The efficacy and cost effectiveness of this strategy in these patients has not yet been determined in clinical trials.
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