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Artery-Opening Method Works Well in Women
Date:6/9/2008

Study finds improvement for both genders over 25-year period

MONDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- The procedures used to open narrowed heart arteries work just as well in women as in men, and the results for both genders have improved steadily in recent years, new research finds.

The study in the June 17 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology is a marker in a fading debate about the value for women of what cardiologists call percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), in which a balloon-tipped catheter is inserted to open a blocked blood vessel. Older studies have reported a lower use of PCI for women and a higher death rate for those getting the intervention.

But looking at 25 years of PCI done on almost 19,000 people, Mayo Clinic cardiologists report increasing effectiveness for the most recent years and equal effectiveness for men and women when risk factors such age are taken into account.

"Women should feel reassured," study author Dr. Mandeep Singh, an associate professor of medicine, said in a statement. "Not only has there been significant improvement in PCI outcomes over time, women's outcomes are similar to those of men."

The Mayo researchers compared 7,904 people, 28 percent of them women, who had PCI between 1979 and 1995, with 10,981 people, 31 percent of them women, treated between 1996 and 2004. They found a reduction in the death rate in the 30 days after the procedure for men, from 2.8 percent in the early group to 2.2 percent in the more recent group; for women, it went from 4.4 percent in the early group to 2.9 percent in the later group.

Overall, the success rate in opening arteries was almost identical for both sexes, 89 percent for women, 90 percent for men.

The higher mortality rate for women could be explained by risk factors such as age, the report said. Women having PCI were an average of five years older than men. They were also signi
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