Gender Gap Remains for Heart Attack Care
A massive study of over 78,000 heart attack victims has revealed that women are twice as likely as men to die after being hospitalized, and suggests that undertreatment may be a contributing cause.
The research, conducted by a team from institutes across the United States, found that the death rate among patients with ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) was 10.2 per cent for women and 5.5 per cent for men. STEMI attacks cause more damage to the heart than other types of heart attacks.
The study also found that many of the recommended post-heart attack treatments were not administered to women, or were delayed.
The study found that, compared to men, women were:
- Fourteen per cent less likely to receive Aspirin, which reduces the risk of a second heart attack and prevents blood clots.
- Ten per cent less likely to receive beta blockers, which restore regular heart rhythms.
- Twenty-five per cent less likely to receive reperfusion therapy to restore blood flow.
- Twenty-two per cent were less likely to receive angioplasty (to open blocked arteries) within 90 minutes of arriving at the hospital.
"We could not determine in this study to which extent these differences were due to physicians' failures to administer optimal therapies to women versus appropriate decision-making based on biological and other differences between men and women," Dr. Hani Jneid, lead study author and assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in a statement..
Findings suggest that there is still a gender gap in care, which "underscores the existing opportunities to enhance post-heart attach care in women," Jneid said. The report is published in the December 9th issue of Circulation.
For descriptions about the various kinds of heart attacks and what should be done about them, visit the American Heart Association.