A group of 215 men and 272 women aged 62 to 90 forming a randomly-selected sample of the older population was studied by cardiovascular survey methods and followed for 5 years. The 5-year mortality of 28 per cent was related to age and was higher in men. Ischaemic heart disease was the certified cause of 28 per cent of the deaths. Mortality was greater in those with systolic hypertension. Among electrocardiographic features ST depression, T inversion, and atrial fibrillation increased overall and ischaemic heart disease mortality independently of their association with age. A positive response to an angina and infarct questionnaire was poorly related to subsequent mortality. Re-examination of 72 per cent of 5-year survivors was possible. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly lower and the frequency of electrocardiographic abnormalities, particularly left axis deviation, left ventricular hypertrophy, and ST and T wave changes, was increased.
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