Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have revealed that women face a 20 percent increased risk of developing heart failure or dying after the first severe heart attack compared to men.
Previous research looking at sex differences in heart health has often focused on a recurrent heart attack or death. However, the differences in vulnerability to heart failure between men and women after a heart attack remains unclear.
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For this study, published in the journal Circulation, the research team data focused on more than 45,000 patients (30.8 percent women) hospitalized for a first heart attack between 2002-2016 in Alberta, Canada.
They focused on two types of a heart attack: a severe, life-threatening heart attack called ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), and a less severe type called Non-STEMI or NSTEMI, the latter of which is more common.
Patients were followed for an average of 6.2 years. Women were older and faced a variety of complications and more risk factors that may have put them at a greater risk of heart failure after a heart attack.
The findings showed that the development of heart failure either in the hospital or after discharge remained higher for women than men for both types of heart attack, even after adjusting for certain confounders.
Women were seen less frequently in the hospital by a cardiovascular specialist: 72.8 percent versus 84 percent for men. Based on these findings, Padma Kaul, study co-author from the University of Alberta, said the next step is to examine if all patients are receiving the best care, particularly women.
“We need to be vigilant, pay attention to our own biases and to those most vulnerable to ensure that we have done everything possible in providing the best treatment,” Kaul added. Another study published earlier this year in the journal Nature Medicine found that more women than men die of heart failure. (IANS)