Aging is a physiological process that influences the life span when associated with risk factors such as diabetes mellitus, coronary disease, systemic hypertension, and congestive heart failure. The chronology inherent in aging should not preclude the use of effective therapy in appropriate settings. In the elderly (defined as “of or pertaining to persons in later life” by the Random House Dictionary, unabridged version), the reductions in mortality from pharmacological or therapeutic interventions are often similar. Studies have demonstrated low complication rates and high rates of successful outcomes in elderly persons undergoing percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass graft surgery.11 

The success of pharmacological therapy in treating chronic diseases is firmly established. However, elderly persons consume an inordinate quantity of medications compared with younger persons, and as a result are exposed to a higher risk of...

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