August 27, 2009

Heart attack death rates vary by gender

U.S. researchers found death rates linked to heart attack type and type differences may be gender-related.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at the rates of death within 30 days after suffering a heart attack -- 30-day mortality -- for a pool of 136,247 heart attack patients from 11 independent, international randomized clinical trials between 1993 and 2006.

The researchers found among those suffering more severe heart attacks caused by persistent blockage, 30-day mortality was significantly higher among women than men -- perhaps, the researchers said, because of reduced collateral blood flow seen in women. For less severe heart attacks and unstable angina women had lower 30-day mortality than men.

Studies like this have the ability to improve healthcare for men and women -- helping physicians understand sex-differences in why heart attacks happen, and therefore target treatments more effectively and provide for better outcomes, lead study author Dr. Jeffrey Berger of New York University School says in a statement.