Lilia Malkin, BSc
Heart disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the geriatric population. According to Health Canada, myocardial infarction (MI) and ischemic heart disease (IHD) accounted for over one-third of deaths in men and women aged 65 and older in 1995, once again firmly establishing coronary artery disease (CAD) as the leading cause of mortality in Canada. In Ontario, 23 percent of patients die within one year of experiencing MI and one-third of congestive heart failure (CHF) patients succumb within one year of being hospitalized for CHF. Importantly, as Dr. David Naylor, co-editor of the 1999 Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) Cardiovascular Atlas points out, the Canadian demographic profile is shifting toward a larger geriatric population, potentially greatly increasing the number of Canadians vulnerable to heart disease. Therefore, it is imperative that both primary and secondary prevention methods be used as extensively as possible to reduce the morbidity and mortality due to CAD.