Women with history of heart attack more likely to die than men, study shows

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  • Myocardial infarction blocks blood supply to the heart and can cause great damage to the organ
  • A study investigated the difference between the sexes during the follow-up period after a heart attack
  • They found that deaths from all causes were significantly higher in women during this period


While extensive research has been done on sex differences with regard to myocardial infarction (heart attack) in older people, there is a lack of information for younger patients (under 50).

Myocardial infarction (MI) blocks off the heart's blood supply, which can cause severe damage to the heart muscle.

Treatments for MI can include coronary angiography (which uses dye and X-rays to detect blockages in the coronary arteries) and coronary revascularization (restoring the blood flow to the heart).

A study published in the European Heart Journal sought to find the differences between men and women who experienced myocardial infarction, during a long follow-up period.

The study

A team of researchers, led by professor Ron Blankstein of Harvard Medical School, tracked the medical records of patients who suffered type 1 myocardial infarction before the age of 50.

The study included 2 097 patients, of whom 1 693 were men (81%) and 404 women (19%).

Risk factors for heart disease in the patients were also evaluated. These included: diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity, family history of premature CAD, alcohol use, illicit substance use, depression, anxiety, psychotic disorders, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk score, household income, degree of CAD, and the Charlson comorbidity index (CCI).

The results

There were no great differences between the sexes when statistically reviewing deaths caused by cardiovascular problems. However, when looking at deaths from all causes, the study found that at a younger age women are more likely to die than men in the long term.

Professor Blankstein confirms: “When excluding deaths that occurred in hospital, there were 157 deaths in men and 54 death in women from all causes during the follow-up period: 9.5% versus 13.5% respectively, which is a significant difference, and a greater proportion of women died from causes other than cardiovascular problems: 8.4% versus 5.4% respectively, 30 women and 68 men.”

Results also expressed that women are less likely to undergo invasive therapeutic procedures after myocardial infarction.

Researchers expressed that further study is needed to determine the underlying causes of the results that were found, as this was the first of its kind.

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