September 3, 1973

Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease: An Often Abused and Incorrect Diagnosis

Author Affiliations

Christ Hospital Jersey City, NJ

JAMA. 1973;225(10):1249-1250. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220380061026

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To the Editor.—  As every physician is aware, arteriosclerotic heart disease is the most frequently diagnosed form of heart disease. However, the diagnosis in many instances is based on the discovery of heart disease in an individual over 50 years of age. It seems that a great many physicians use age as the sole criterion to make the diagnosis and to sign death certificates and insurance forms. Obviously, this great lack of proper diagnostic investigation makes this a waste paper diagnosis. As a result, our vital statistics become grossly inaccurate.Several forms of heart disease occur in middle aged- and elderly people that are not arteriosclerotic heart disease, and we must not forget them. We know (1) that people with rheumatic heart disease can and do live beyond the proverbial fourscore and ten, and (2) that others with congenital heart anomalies may attain ripe old age. These two entities should