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Women No More Likely to Die After Angioplasty

TUESDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Women undergoing angioplasty, a procedure to unblock a clogged artery, show more indicators for heart disease than men, according to new research.

However, the study also shows that women are at no higher odds of dying after an angioplasty than male patients.

In conducting the study, published Nov. 1 in the journal Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, researchers analyzed information on almost 4,800 women and nearly 9,000 men who had undergone angioplasty.

They found the women were not at greater risk of death following an angioplasty because of their gender. But they were much more likely to have certain risk factors than men.

"While men did have higher rates of some modifiable risk factors, such as smoking, women certainly had a far greater overall burden of co-morbidities [other illnesses] and adverse prognostic factors," researcher Dr. Annapoorna Kini, of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, said in a journal news release.

Compared to men, the women were older and more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes and higher LDL, or "bad," cholesterol levels, all of which are linked to heart disease. More women than men also had an unstable heart condition.

Death rates among women were higher than men 30 days, one year and three years after angioplasty. However, after adjusting for the imbalance in risk factors between men and women, the study showed women were at no greater risk for death than men after undergoing an angioplasty. Still, the study's authors noted that both men and women would benefit from reducing risk factors that lead to heart disease.

One expert called the findings "a 'glass half empty or glass half full' situation."

"On the one hand, gender doesn't appear as important as it once did, perhaps because we have better focus on the specifics of women's health issues," said Dr. Kirk Garratt, director of Interventional Cardiovascular Research at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "However, the fact remains that more women than men in this study presented with diabetes, kidney failure, a history of stroke, and unstable heart troubles. I think this shows that we still have work to do, in getting on top of the things that really make the difference between living and dying from your heart disease."

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among U.S. adults, and more than 1 million Americans undergo angioplasty each year.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute provides more on coronary angioplasty.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Kirk Garratt, M.D., director, Interventional Cardiovascular Research, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, news release, Nov. 1, 2011

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