Monday, September 03, 2007

Women Heart Patients May Need Different Care

According to a new study, women with heart problems may be harmed by certain procedures.

A small study of 184 women conducted by Dr. Eva Swahn of the department of cardiology at University Hospital in Linkoping, Sweden, found that women who had major heart operations like a coronary bypass were more likely than men to die.

Last month, the American College of Cardiology revised its treatment guidelines to recommend that doctors should think twice before subjecting women at low risk of heart disease to invasive procedures.

Doctors are not sure what accounts for the discrepancy. But women tend to have smaller hearts and vessels, which could complicate any surgical procedure. For example, when catheters need to be inserted into the artery to take photos of what is happening inside the body, having smaller arteries does not help.

Women also tend to have more side effects from medicines. Hormonal factors could also play a role, though doctors are not exactly sure how female-specific hormones affect the cardiovascular system.

Compounding the problem is the fact that women are usually about a decade older than men by the time they develop heart problems, so other health problems associated with old age could also worsen their chances of surviving heart surgery.

See what happens when "Women should be treated equally" turns into "Women and men are exactly the same in every way"? See what happens when males are considered the norm and what's good for the gander is good for the goose? The geese die. So hopefully some pro-woman cardiologists out there are trying to come up with a way to help women heart patients with effective and safe treatments.

No comments: