Women at Higher Risk When Heart Attack Strikes the Young

THURSDAY, Oct. 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Younger women who suffer a heart attack are more likely than men to die in the decade after surgery, a new study finds.

It included more than 400 women and nearly 1,700 men, average age 45, who had a first heart attack between 2000 and 2016.

During an average follow-up of more than 11 years, there were no statistically significant differences between men and women for deaths while in the hospital, or for heart-related deaths.

However, women had a 1.6-fold increased risk of dying from other causes during the follow-up, according to the study published Oct. 14 in the European Heart Journal.

"Cardiovascular deaths occurred in 73 men and 21 women, 4.4% versus 5.3% respectively, over a median follow-up time of 11.2 years," said study leader Dr. Ron Blankstein, a preventive cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

"However, when excluding deaths that occurred in the hospital, there were 157 deaths in men and 54 deaths in women from all causes during the follow-up period: 9.5% versus 13.5% respectively, which is a significant difference, and a greater proportion of women died from causes other than cardiovascular problems, 8.4% versus 5.4% respectively," Blankstein said in a journal news release.

The study also found that women were less likely than men to undergo invasive procedures after admission to the hospital with a heart attack, or to be treated with certain medications when they were discharged, such as aspirin, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and statins.

"It's important to note that overall most heart attacks in people under the age of 50 occur in men. Only 19% of the people in this study were women. However, women who experience a heart attack at a young age often present with similar symptoms as men, are more likely to have diabetes, have lower socioeconomic status and ultimately are more likely to die in the longer term," Blankstein noted.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on heart attacks.

SOURCE: European Heart Journal, news release, Oct. 14, 2020

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