Women are 20% more likely to die after heart attack due to poorer treatment: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on December 01, 2020 Published on December 01, 2020

Study noted that women are receiving poorer treatment than men on average

A new study carried by researchers from Canada revealed that women are 20 per cent more likely to die in the first five years after their first heart attack than men.

For the study, the researchers analysed 45,064 hospitalised patients from Canada after their first heart attack. They monitored these patients for around six years.

The findings of the study noted that women are receiving poorer treatment than men on average, including fewer surgeries performed, specialist consultations and medications prescribed.

Heart attacks can be categorised into two forms — a life-threatening form called an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI, while the other is less critical and called non-STEMI. Non-STEMIs are more common around the world.

The authors of the study found that the development of heart failure after a STEMI or a non-STEMI — whether in a hospital or following discharge — remains higher for women than for men.

The study further observed that women were 9.4 per cent more likely to die in hospital following a STEMI and 4.5 per after a non-STEMI — as compared to 4.7 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively, for men.

In the cohort study, the women patients were just over 10 years older than the men — with a mean age of 72, compared with 61. Hence, they were more likely to have co-morbidities.

These included conditions like atrial fibrillation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Despite such critical health, only 72.8 per cent of the women were examined by a cardiovascular specialist, as compared to 84 per cent of men.

Lead author of the paper and cardiologist Justin Ezekowitz of the University of Alberta said: “Identifying when and how women may be at higher risk for heart failure after a heart attack can help providers develop more effective approaches for prevention.”

He added: “Better adherence to reducing cholesterol, controlling high blood pressure, getting more exercise, eating a healthy diet, and stopping smoking, combined with recognition of these problems earlier in life would save thousands of lives. The same advice would also apply well to men”.

“Close enough is not good enough. There are gaps across diagnosis, access, quality of care, and follow-up for all patients,” said cardiologist Padma Kaul of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The findings of the study were published in the journal Circulation.

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Published on December 01, 2020
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