After bypass surgery, women have worse quality of life than men

DURHAM, N.C. A study by Duke University Medical Center researchers has found that women do not derive the same long-term quality-of-life benefits as men following coronary artery bypass surgery. This conclusion was evident even after the researchers statistically adjusted their data to allow for the greater number of preoperative risk factors in women than in men.

The researchers speculate that there may be two reasons for this clear gender discrepancy either women may not experience the same level of physical benefits from the surgery as men, or their lowered quality of life is less related to cardiac health than men.

The results of the Duke study were published today (Nov. 24, 2003) in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. The research was support by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association (AHA).

"We know that in general women receiving bypass surgery are sicker, older, more likely to live alone and have other preoperative differences that would appear to explain a compromised quality of life," said lead author Barbara Phillips-Bute, Ph.D., assistant research professor in department of anesthesiology. "However, when we control for all these factors, a significant difference still exists."

Both the American College of Cardiology and the AHA have issued guidelines stating that when physicians and patients discuss the option of surgery, quality of life should be considered as an important factor along with survival, Phillips-Bute said. When all bypass patients are taken together, the surgery does improve quality of life, she continued, adding however that little is known about the gender differences.

To better understand these gender differences, the Duke team enrolled in a clinical trial 280 patients (96 women and 184 men) who were to receive bypass surgery.

All were given a battery of tests that measured quality of life and cognitive status prior to surgery and one year later. The quality-

Contact: Richard Merritt
Duke University Medical Center

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