Prehospital and hospital fatality rates were calculated for each 10-year age group of 2788 patients transported to hospital with heart attacks. The prehospital fatality rate rose progressively from 4 per cent in the youngest age group to 45 per cent in the oldest. There was no age-related difference between the groups in the interval between the onset of symptoms and the first call for help, and a similar proportion of each group summoned a general practitioner. Among those admitted to hospital there was a progressive rise with age in the proportion eventually found to have had a definite or probable myocardial infarction, and among such patients the hospital fatality rate rose from 8 per cent in the youngest group to 35 per cent in the oldest. There was a progressive rise with age in the symptoms and signs of, and treatment for, heart failure. Reported fatality rates from myocardial infarction can only be interpreted if the ages of the patients are known in detail.
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