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In a group of 64 patients (29 men and 35 women) all aged 65 or over referred for electrocardiography in this Department, there were 30 (16 men and 14 women) with no recorded clinical evidence of major cardiovascular disorders, past or present. Of these `clinically negative' patients 19 (ten men and nine women) showed codable abnormalities when their electrocardiograms were read and classified according to the Minnesota code.
In a group of 121 patients (63 men and 58 women) aged 42-64 only seven (six men and one woman of 58) `clinically negative' patients showed codable abnormalities in their electrocardigrams. It is suggested that the high yield of codable abnormalities in the former group reflects incomplete and misleading cardiovascular histories or atypical clinical presentations in that group and a plea is made for a more widespread use of routine electrocardiography when trying to sort out the often multiple and confusing clinical problems of the elderly.