Cardiovascular Disease in the Aged: Overview of an Autopsy Series

S. Matsushita, M. Kuroo, T. Takagi, E. Hou, K. Kuramoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


As an overview of cardiovascular disease in the aged, 3657 autopsy cases were analyzed for the frequency and age-wise incidence of cardiovascular disease. The three major categories, ischemic heart disease, valvular heart disease, and aortic aneurysm and dissection were described. 1. The incidence of overall cardiovascular disease increases sharply between the ages of 60 and 75. Prevention and treatment could be effectively directed at this age group. 2. The incidence of organic cardiovascular disease was: myocardial infarction 19.8 percent; valvular disease 10.0 percent; arteriosclerosis obliterans 3.5 percent; aortic aneurysm and dissection 3.3 percent; pericarditis 2.1 percent; cardiomyopathy 1.6 percent; cor pulmonale 1.4 percent; congenital heart disease 0.7 percent; and others 0.8 percent. 3. As coronary sclerosis progresses, death from ischemic heart disease increases; however, 7 out of 10 patients with 3 vessel disease still die of causes other than ischemic heart disease (pneumonia, malignancy etc.). The general management of infection and malignant neoplasms is important in addition to treatment of cardiovascular disease. 4. Except for mitral stenosis, valvular heart disease, the etiology of which is mostly non-rheumatic, increases with advancing age. 5. In aortic aneurysm, the rupture rate is relatively high in the thoracic aorta; however, this may be caused by the successful surgical repair of abdominal aneurysms. An aneurysm below 6 cm in diameter is not absolutely safe from rupture. 6. In aortic dissection, the interval from onset to the death of the patient is often too short to consider surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-448
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1988


  • Aging
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Aortic dissection
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Valvular heart disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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