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Treat Women With Heart Attack Just Like Men: Study

That will increase their odds of survival, experts say

TUESDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Women who suffer a heart attack are more likely to survive if they receive the same invasive treatments as men do, a new study suggests.

French researchers looked at more than 3,000 patients admitted to the hospital for heart attack and found that women were 57 percent less likely than men to undergo angiography, a procedure that identifies blocked arteries. Among patients with an especially serious form of heart attack called ST-elevation myocardial infarction, men were 72 percent more likely to receive clot-busting drugs and 24 percent more likely to undergo angioplasty, a procedure to reopen a blocked artery.

In addition, the study authors noted, women were more likely than men to die during their initial hospital stay (9.7 percent versus 5 percent) and within a month of having a heart attack (12.4 percent versus 7 percent).

However, when the researchers used a special statistical model to match patients by baseline clinical characteristics and treatments, death rates were similar among women and men.

"This suggests that we could reduce mortality in female patients by using more invasive procedures. When there are no clear contraindications, women should be treated with all recommended strategies, including invasive strategies," Dr. Francois Schiele, professor of cardiology and cardiology chief at the University Hospital of Besancon, said in a news release from the American College of Cardiology.

The study was to be presented Tuesday at the American College of Cardiology's annual scientific session in Atlanta.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about heart attack treatments.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American College of Cardiology, news release, March 16, 2010

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