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Women More Likely to Fail Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation

Catheter ablation performed more often in men with fewer complications, study finds

TUESDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- New research reveals that women are more likely than men to fail catheter ablation treatments for atrial fibrillation.

Also, men undergo the procedures five times as often as women and usually have fewer complications.

The findings, published in the February issue of HeartRhythm Journal, are based on a study of 3,265 female patients between 2005 and 2008. They underwent pulmonary vein antrum isolation, a kind of catheter ablation.

Almost a third of the women failed the heart procedures, compared to just 22.5 percent of men, and they had nearly double the rate of uncomfortable complications in some cases.

"Most atrial fibrillation studies have consisted predominately of male patients, and, accordingly, there is a real lack of information about the safety and efficacy of catheter ablation for females," study author Dr. Andrea Natale, executive medical director of the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David's Medical Center in Austin, Texas, said in a news release. "The work ahead is to pinpoint why female patients are more likely to delay this procedure and to work with doctors to develop a better patient dialogue and treatment strategy."

Researchers said women tend to undergo the treatment at later ages than men, perhaps because they're apprehensive about it. Success rates may go up if it's performed earlier, they said.

More information

The American Heart Association has more on atrial fibrillation.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: Heart Rhythm Society, news release, Feb. 3, 2010

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