Women who had undergone heart attack are more likely than men to develop severe heart failure or die within five years. Researchers claimed in American Heart Association’s flagship journal Circulation that women are at 20 per cent more risk than men did.
Earlier researchers had looked at recurrent heart failures and subsequent deaths among men and women. However, these studies could not detect the differences in the vulnerability among them. For the study, the researchers analysed data of more than 45,000 patients of which 30.8 per cent were women. These patients were hospitalized for a first heart attack between 2002 2016 in Alberta, Canada. While some experienced life threatening ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), some others had less severe type named Non-STEMI or NSTEMI.
The results showed the following
- 24,737 patients had the less severe, form of heart attack (NSTEMI); among them, 34.3 per cent were women and 65.7 per cent were men.
- 20,327 patients experienced STEMI, the more severe heart attack; among them, 26.5 per cent were women and 73.5 per cent men.
- Women had a higher unadjusted rate of death in the hospital than men. It occurred in both STEMI (9.4% vs. 4,5%) and NSTEMI (4.7% vs. 2.9%) groups. However, the gap narrowed considerably for NSTEMI after confounder adjustments.
- Women were at an average of ten years older than men at the time of heart attack. Usually an average age of 72 years versus ! for the men. Women had more complicated medical histories at the time of their heart attacks such as high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Women were seen less frequently in the hospital by a cardiovascular specialist
- Regardless of whether heart attacks were severe or less severe type, fewer women were prescribed medications
Lead study author Justin A. Ezekowitz said that identifying when and how women may be at higher risk for heart failure after a heart attack can help in developing effective approaches for prevention. Ezekowitz is co director of the Canadian VIGOUR Centre at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
The researchers mentioned that controlling high blood pressure, better adherence to reducing cholesterol, more exercise, eating healthy diet and stopping smoking in earlier life would save thousands of lives.