-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
TUESDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Women suffering from heart
failure receive roughly the same quality of care as men in
hospitals that follow American Heart Association guidelines,
according to a new study.
Even though women admitted for heart failure were generally
older than men (average age 74 vs. 69), women were no more likely
to die in the hospital.
"We've previously had little data on the quality of care women hospitalized with heart failure receive in the hospital, and we had no idea if they were receiving the same quality of care as men," study author Dr. Liviu Klein, a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said in a news release. "We're happy to find that, for the most part, they are."
The study is published in the Aug. 23 issue of the journal
Circulation: Heart Failure.
Researchers examined the records of nearly 100,000 patients
treated for heart failure at 247 hospitals over the course of five
years. All of the hospitals followed the American Heart
Association's "Get With the Guidelines - Heart Failure Program,"
which calls for hospitals to take steps to improve heart failure
care. Those steps include prescribing certain medications, running
certain tests and giving information on lifestyle changes and
The study found that women were as likely as men to receive
written discharge instructions, certain medications such as beta
blockers and counseling to quit smoking.
However, women were less likely to receive a measurement of how
well the heart pumps blood, implantable defibrillators or blood
thinners. That's worrisome, researchers said, because women have a
higher risk for stroke as a result of atrial fibrillation.
Women were also more likely to have hypertension, but less
likely to have coronary disease or renal insufficiency than
The study's authors concluded that more research is needed to
explain the gender differences in lengths of hospitalizations and
treatments for patients with heart failure.
Nearly 6 million Americans suffer from heart failure, a
condition in which the heart doesn't pump blood as well as it
The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information
heart disease in women.
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