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Women Clear Winners with Heart Failure Device
Date:5/13/2010

in the heart's electrical system. In individuals with non-ischemic disease the entire heart, as opposed to a single region of the heart, is often affected.

Women were also more likely to have left bundle branch block, a condition that results in disorganized electrical activity throughout the heart, including unsynchronized contractions. Because left bundle branch block and non-ischemic disease lead to diffuse, as opposed to localized heart problems, study authors reason women may be more responsive to CRT-D therapy, which strengthens the overall mechanical pumping action of the heart and coordinates the heart's electrical activity.

"Another issue to consider is that women often put their own health lower down on their list of priorities, after taking care of their family, managing their career, and so on," said Zareba. "This may translate into women showing up at the physician's office later than men, with more advanced disease, in which case they might see a greater benefit from CRT-D therapy."  

In contrast to women, men were more likely to have ischemic heart disease – otherwise known as coronary artery disease – where narrowed arteries restrict the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. Ischemic disease often leads to localized problems, for example, when a clogged artery restricts blood flow and causes damage to a particular region of the heart. Moss and his colleagues believe the more localized problems men typically experience may render them somewhat less responsive to CRT-D therapy.

CRT-D therapy combines two functions found in current devices. It combines an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), which is designed to prevent sudden, rhythm-related cardiac death, with cardiac resynchronization therapy, which works to reduce heart failure and associated symptoms.

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SOURCE University of Rochester Medical Center
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