Women worse off after a heart attack

Study says women have longer hospital stays, more likely to die in hospital


A new study finds women have longer hospital stays and are more likely to die in the hospital after a heart attack. 

"I think it's a little disappointing to see that there is still a difference in mortality. That there's been no difference in the number of women presenting with heart attack over the time period that was looked, so over the last decade, no real difference in the hospitalization rates," said Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist Dr. Richard Krasuski, who did not take part in the study.

Yale researchers analyzed the medical records of nearly 231,000 people. They found heart attack hospitalization rates for people under age 55 are not declining as quickly as they have for medicare-age patients. Results also show that after a heart attack, men were more likely to have high cholesterol, while women, especially black women, were more likely to also have high blood pressure, diabetes and heart failure. This led to longer hospital stays and a higher in-hospital death rate.

Researchers say younger women may benefit from more aggressive control of modifiable cardiovascular risk factors. They include things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking and diabetes. Krasuski agrees.

"In terms of preventing heart disease there's a lot now published about the fact we're getting worse," he said. "People are getting more obese, they're developing more issues with their cholesterol and their blood pressure and these are things that are very easily modifiable through lifestyle changes."

Find out more about this study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Cardiology.

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