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Study: Doctors Significantly Less Likely to Provide Women with Treatments to Prevent Heart Attacks
Date:5/19/2008

WomenHeart: Study Should Be 'Wake-Up Call' for Doctors and Women

WASHINGTON, May 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study has found that women with coronary artery disease are significantly less likely than men to be treated with medications to prevent heart attacks.

That's why WomenHeart - the national coalition for women with heart disease -- is calling on doctors to take extra precautions to make sure that women are getting the care that they need.

"This study should serve as a wake-up call to doctors and women alike," said Lisa Tate, WomenHeart CEO. "Heart disease is the leading cause of death of American women. Clearly, too women are not getting the medical care that they need."

The study, published this month in the journal Heart, was based on data from 25,755 men and women who had a heart attack or chest pain between 1999 and 2006. All of the patients had an angiogram to check for blockages in their heart's blood vessels.

Among heart patients, women were significantly less likely than men to receive medications called beta blockers, statins and ACE inhibitors - which experts say are crucial to preventing further heart problems, the study's authors said. Female patients also were less likely to get treatments to open their blood vessels.

According to the study, women with more advanced coronary artery disease were more likely than men to have died, or to have suffered another heart attack or stroke within six months of their initial hospitalization.

The study also found that women were twice as likely as men to have "normal" or "mild" results on an exam of their heart's blood vessels. This was despite the fact that other tests confirmed that the women were having a heart attack or unstable angina.

Part of the problem is that atherosclerosis -- a progressive buildup of fatty deposits or plaque in the body's arteries - can get worse over time without a person experiencing any symptoms. That's why it
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SOURCE WomenHeart
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