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Women More Prone to Die in Month After Heart Attack
Date:8/25/2009

But factors other than gender may be to blame, researchers say

TUESDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Women are more likely to die than men in the 30 days after a heart attack, but that doesn't mean gender is driving the trend, a new study finds.

Rather, "the difference can be attributed to well-known clinical and angiographic characteristics," such as age and the presence of other illnesses, said study lead author Dr. Jeffrey S. Berger, assistant professor of medicine and director of cardiovascular thrombosis at New York University.

He and his colleagues published the findings in the Aug. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the study, data on more than 136,000 people (28 percent of them women) from 11 major international studies of acute coronary syndrome showed no significant difference in male-female death rates after adjusting for clinical characteristics such as the amount of blockage in heart arteries and the presence of risk factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure, Berger said.

The analysis was done because "in many prior studies the data had been conflicting about how women do compared to men," he said. "Some would tell you women did worse, others that there were no differences. But the majority of these studies were small, done in single centers and for short periods of time. This study allowed a look at data spanning two decades that occurred all over the world."

The unadjusted data found a 9.6 percent death rate for women versus a 5.3 percent death rate for men in the 30 days after an acute coronary syndrome, which includes events such as heart attack or unstable angina. But that all changed once researchers began adjusting for various co-factors.

For example, the women in the studies were older and more likely to have high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and heart failure, the team noted. On the other hand, the men
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