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Symptoms and care of irregular heartbeats differ by gender
Date:3/11/2013

DURHAM, NC Women with atrial fibrilation have more symptoms and lower quality of life than men with the same heart condition, according to an analysis of patients in a large national registry compiled by the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

The finding adds to a growing body of research that highlights gender disparities in how cardiovascular disease is managed, and serves as a caution to doctors to be alert to treatment decisions that might perpetuate the differences.

"We need to pay close attention to women with atrial fibrillation, and it's important for physicians to know that women with the condition have more symptoms and a lower quality of life than their male counterparts," said Jonathan P. Piccini, M.D., MHSc, an assistant professor of medicine and electrophysiology at Duke. Piccini presented the data March 10, 2013, during the American College of Cardiology's 62nd Annual Scientific Sessions & Expo.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common form of abnormal heart rhythm, affecting more than 2 million people in the United States. Symptoms include heart palpitations, shortness of breath and fatigue. The condition is associated with an increased risk of stroke and reduced survival.

Piccini and colleagues at Duke analyzed outcomes data from more than 10,000 patients with atrial fibrillation enrolled in a long-term, observational study called the Outcomes Registry for Better Informed Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation, or ORBIT-AF.

The study was launched in 2010 to help healthcare providers understand how atrial fibrillation is managed and to better understand long-term outcomes among patients in "real-world" situations. The registry is tool to evaluate long-term health outcomes, quality of life, and the impact of existing and emerging treatments.

The current analysis involved 10,132 people with atrial fibrilation from 176 clinics and practices across the country. About 42 percent of study participants wer
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Contact: Sarah Avery
sarah.avery@duke.edu
919-660-1306
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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