Feb 20, 2020 - Health

Turning 80 could have unintended consequences on heart health

illustration of a heart rate monitor

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Having already turned 80 could be a huge deal for patients who have heart attacks, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine and reported on by STAT.

Details: While 7% of Medicare enrollees who were a few weeks shy of their 80th birthday and who had been admitted to the hospital with heart attacks received bypass surgery, only 5.3% of patients who had just turned 80 did, the study found.

Between the lines: "To arbitrarily — and perhaps, unknowingly — fixate on the threshold at which patients pass from their 70s into their 80s seems like an example of what's called the 'left-digit bias' — our tendency to pay more attention to the digit we read first," STAT writes.

  • The concept is similar to when we think $4.99 is a much better deal than $5.01.

Go deeper: Seniors struggle to afford health care

Go deeper