AHA urges earlier diagnoses, referrals for PCI in women

NEW YORK CITY, Feb. 1 Physicians should diagnose and provide referrals for percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) earlier in women, the American Heart Association recommends in a statement published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

This statement was presented today at The State Of The Heart: Go Red For Women news conference in New York City.

PCI, which includes balloon angioplasty and stenting to open blocked arteries, could prevent many coronary heart disease deaths in women each year, particularly in women who arrive at the hospital having a heart attack, according to the Percutaneous Coronary Intervention and Adjunctive Pharmacotherapy In Women statement.

More than 1 million Americans undergo PCI each year, but only 35 percent of these procedures are performed in women, said Alexandra J. Lansky, M.D., chair of the statement writing group and director of the Women's Cardiovascular Health Initiative at the Cardiovascular Research Foundation.

This is the first time the American Heart Association has addressed in detail what is known and not known about PCI in women.

"These interventions can save lives and prevent subsequent heart attacks in these women. Now is the time to translate our findings into real-world practice," said Lansky, director of Clinical Services for Interventional Cardiology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia and associate professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

"One reason for the imbalance in referrals for PCI is that earlier studies suggested that women had high death and complication rates with these procedures. But this review finds that these procedures are not only safe and effective in women, but that outcomes continue to improve."

But research confirms that women may present some unique problems, Lansky said.

"There is no question that the female patient is likely to have a higher cardiovascular disease risk p

Contact: Carole Bullock
American Heart Association

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