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Twice as Many Women Die From Severe Heart Attack Than Men

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

According to a new study, women and men have the same rate of fatal heart attack. However, women are twice as likely to die from ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Heart attacks can occur with our without ST segment elevation. ST segments are lines seen on the EKG when your doctor takes a tracing of your heart rhythm. STEMI is a more severe form of heart attack or myocardial infarction.

According to the report, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, women receive less timely intervention during a heart attack than do men. Women were:

· 14% less likely to receive an aspirin when compared to men,

· 22% less likely to receive clot-busting medication within the recommended thirty-minute period following arrival to the emergency department,

· 13% less likely to receive angioplasty to open blood flow to the arteries within 90 minutes

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· 10% less likely to receive beta- blockers (drugs to slow and protect the heart from further damage)

The researchers found that women carry twice the risk of dying within twenty-four hours of hospital admission for severe heart attack, (STEMI), versus men.

Laura Wexler, M.D., co-author of the study and senior associate dean at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine says, "Although STEMI is not as common among women as it is among men, it is a concern that there is still this gap in mortality between men and women after the more severe heart attack."

The study authors are not certain if biological differences in men and women account for the disparity, or if physicians need more education about how to optimally treat STEMI, the more severe form of heart attack.

Deaths from heart attack have declined in the past ten years for both men and women, showing that rapid, state of the art interventions are being utilized. The authors of the current study recognize the overall survival difference, but seem befuddled about the higher incidence of deaths in women hospitalized with severe heart attacks.

Source: American Heart Association