(NaturalNews) Women who suffer a severe heart attack are less likely to survive the first 24 hours in the hospital than men are, according to a new study appearing currently in the medical journal Circulation
published by the American Heart Association. There are several factors that combine to make a heart attack more likely to be a fatal event for women. More than 78,000 patients admitted to 420 hospitals between the years 2001 and 2006 were included in the study. Hospitals gathered the data using a tool to track patient care.
Researchers found no gender gap in deaths for all heart attacks after adjusting for differences in risk factors and age. However, they did find that women who suffered a heart attack known as an "ST-elevation myocardial infarction," (STEMI) had a 12 percent higher risk of dying in the hospital than men. With this type of heart attack, immediate treatment to open the artery is important.
There have been other studies that have concluded that women are less likely to survive heart attacks than men. Experts have disagreed about the reasons, however.
Some studies have concluded that women are not diagnosed as promptly or treated as aggressively as men. Another possibility is that women develop heart disease at an older age than men. Because of this, female patients are more likely to suffer other complications such as diabetes or lung disease in conjunction with heart disease. These complications often complicate the illness and result in death.
Another factor is that women tend to experience confusing heart
attack symptoms. This includes symptoms like unexplained fatigue instead of the classic symptom of crushing chest pain. This makes it more difficult to diagnose and more difficult to decide to seek medical help. Time is of the essence in this situation and waiting may be a costly mistake.
The researchers in the study found that women
were 14 percent less likely than men to be prescribed medication. Women were also 22 percent less likely to receive reperfusion therapy within 30 minutes of arrival. This treatment restores blood flow to the heart and is a recommended protocol. Women were also 13 percent less likely to receive angioplasty within 90 minutes of arrival, according to the study.
On the positive side, the data shows an improvement in timely treatment for women since the 1990s. Care for all heart attack
patients is improving. Previous studies discovered that less than one in ten patients were receiving angioplasty within 90 minutes and drug infusion within 30 minutes of arrival. Currently two-thirds are receiving these treatments.
Women need to be encouraged to be aware of symptoms and go to the hospital if they are experiencing heart attack symptoms. Don't delay and call 911 immediately.
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