The elderly constitute an increasing percentage of patients evaluated and treated for coronary artery disease. Clinical and noninvasive evaluation are important in both the diagnosis and prognosis of coronary disease in the elderly, and stress testing is an important part of that evaluation. For older individuals capable of vigorous treadmill or cycle exercise, the exercise electrocardiogram, either alone or combined with radionuclide or echocardiographic imaging, remains an excellent diagnostic and prognostic tool. For the large percentage of elderly patients unable to perform adequate exercise, pharmacologic stress testing with dipyridamole, adenosine, or dobutamine is a valuable alternative. The clinician's challenge is to choose the most appropriate cardiac stress test for his or her patient from among the many alternatives available. Future studies comparing the accuracy and cost-to-benefit ratio of various stress tests with regard to the elderly will help achieve this goal.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology