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Study finds gender gap persists in cardiac care
Date:12/9/2009

TORONTO, Ont December 9, 2009 Gender differences persist in the quality of cardiac care across Ontario, according to a health study by researchers at St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). Ontario women who had heart attacks were less likely to receive care from a cardiologist, be referred for angiography, or be prescribed statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Readmission to hospital after having a heart attack was also studied over a 30-day and one-year timeframe, and over both periods women who had a heart attack were more likely to be readmitted to the hospital than men.

However, the study also found women and men who had heart attacks had similar rates of use of other important medicines recommended after a heart attack, excluding statins, and experienced the same wait time for procedures like angiographies.

"The good news is the gender gap has narrowed over the past decade and we identified a number of areas where care received by women and men is comparable," says Dr. Arlene Bierman, a physician at St. Michael's Hospital and principal investigator of the study, entitled Project for an Ontario Women's Health Evidence-Based Report (POWER). "Now we need to eliminate the gender disparities that remain to improve health outcomes and provide a better quality of life for women with heart disease."

Key findings of the POWER Study Cardiovascular chapter released today include:

  • Women who reported they had heart disease or a stroke consistently reported worse functional status and higher rates of disability than men.

  • Adults with low income and less education with cardiovascular disease were more likely to report fair or poor health, declining health or limited activities.

  • Women were less likely to undergo an angiography after a heart attack, a technique used to examine the blood vessels of the heart for disease or narrowing. Only 44 per cent of
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Contact: Julie Saccone
sacconej@smh.toronto.on.ca
416-864-5047
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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