Women heart attack victims 'twice as likely to die as men'

Last Updated : 21 October 2012, 11:12 IST
Last Updated : 21 October 2012, 11:12 IST

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Women wait longer to call an ambulance after a heart attack than men do and they are not treated as effectively by doctors as men are, a new study has claimed.

Researchers from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Rennes, France urged women to be more vigilant about chest pains, and wanted medical staff to be more proactive in their treatment of women suffering heart attacks, the Daily Mail reported.

Heart disease and heart attacks are more common in men, leading some doctors to think women rarely suffer them, the research added.

The study conducted in Brittany found that women were twice as likely to die from their heart attack than men. Those who lived stayed in hospital for longer and had more complications.

"These results suggest that women need to be more vigilant about chest pains and request medical help quickly to reduce ischemic time (duration the heart muscle is starved of oxygen)," researcher Dr Guillaume Leurent said.

"Women may take longer to call an ambulance when they have chest pains because they don't believe it can be a myocardial infarction (heart attack). Most women believe myocardial infarction is a male problem," Leurent said.

"Many doctors still think myocardial infarction is a male problem. Campaigns are needed to increase awareness in doctors and the public about the problem in women. Doctors need to be more careful in the management of women to further reduce ischemic time," Leurent said.

The study examined data from 5,000 heart attack patients in Brittany, France and included 1,174 women.

Women sufferers were older, with an average age of 69, while men had an average age of 61.

Women were also more likely to have high blood pressure but less likely to be smokers.
Women waited longer between the start of symptoms and calling for help, an average of an hour compared with 44 minutes for men, and also waited longer at hospital between being admitted and having treatment.

Nine per cent of women died in hospital compared with four per cent of men. This remained a significant difference even when the treatment delays were factored in, the researchers said.

Women were more than twice as likely to suffer complications such as abnormal heart rhythm following their heart attack and stayed in hospital for more than a week, while men were discharged on average a day earlier.

The study was presented at the Acute Cardiac Care Congress 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Published 21 October 2012, 11:12 IST

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