Wednesday 23 Jul 2014

Information and opinions presented here do not always represent the views of the American Heart Association.

Study shows women do worse than men after heart attack

Published: 3:00 pm CDT, June 2, 2014

Women age 55 and younger may fare worse than men after having a heart attack, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2014.

“Previous studies show young women have a greater burden of pre-existing risk factors,” said Rachel P. Dreyer, Ph.D., the study’s first author and a post-doctoral research associate in cardiovascular medicine at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. “These factors have shown to be more strongly associated with adverse outcomes in women than men.”

Women’s poorer health outcomes may be due to a range of socio-demographic, clinical and biological causes.

Researchers studied 3,501 people, 67 percent women, who had heart attacks in the United States and Spain in 2008-12. One year after their heart attack, women were more likely than men to have:

  • Poorer physical functioning
  • Poorer mental functioning
  • Lower quality of life
  • More chest pain
  • Worse physical limitations

Women may do worse because of socio-demographic, clinical and biological causes, such as undetected chest pain, limited access to care and increase in work and life responsibilities, she said.

“Our results can be important in developing treatments specifically designed to improve young women’s recovery after a heart attack.” Dreyer said. “We need to identify women at higher risk as well as think about care after they are discharged.”

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