Revisiting guidelines for heart health in seniors

Risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke increase with age, but the guidelines don’t.

Prevention guidelines for cardiovascular events are the least aggressive for those 75 years and older because of limited clinical data, though recent studies suggest seniors can still benefit from aggressive treatments.

“It is an interesting paradox that there is the least amount of information available on how to treat a group of people who are at the greatest risk,” said Christie Ballantyne, MD, professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in a news release. “In fact, the most commonly used calculator that predicts risk of a cardiovascular event doesn’t have results for people over the age of 80. What is needed is a personalized approach that takes into account the different risk factors that a person in this age group might face.”

Researchers at Baylor and Johns Hopkins University are using data from the longitudinal Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study to improve the Pooled Cohort Equation risk calculator for cardiovascular disease to predict, treat and prevent heart failure in seniors as well as look for themes of healthy heart aging among middle-aged people.

Researchers will also study how other health issues such as diabetes and cognitive disorders or declines are related to cardiovascular disease. 

Topics: Clinical