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Heart attack treatment gap may be closing for women

ORLANDO, Feb. 18 Women who have suffered a heart attack or have chest pain are being prescribed appropriate drug intervention at hospital discharge at the same frequency as men, researchers reported at the Second International Conference on Women, Heart Disease and Stroke.

A sub analysis of a National Institute of Health funded study showed that women were just as likely as men to be discharged on recommended drugs after acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Women were prescribed aspirin, beta-blockers and statins as frequently as men.

One in ten women with ACS, who is able to take the medicines, didn't receive aspirin or beta-blockers. Still one-third of these women did not receive statins.

Past studies have shown that women with heart disease were not receiving as much therapy as men after heart attack or unstable angina, said Shu-Fen Wung, Ph.D., associate professor of nursing, University of Arizona, Tucson. "But significant progress has been made with more physicians/nurse practitioners following practice guidelines.

"We are making progress in prescribing aspirin, beta-blockers and statins to patients with acute coronary syndrome," she said. "In addition, there is not a statistically significant gap in the treatment between men and women."

Clinical guidelines of the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommend that patients with ACS be treated with aspirin, beta-blockers and lipid-lowering medications. Previous studies have shown distinct gender differences, with men receiving more therapies than women. However, only limited studies specifically addressed the practice of this clinical guideline by gender.

The study, which included 177 men and 35 women with ACS, determined whether patients were being discharged on the appropriate medications and the relationship between pharmacological management and six-month survival. Men and women had no differences in age, or the diagnosis of heart attack o
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Contact: Karen Astle
karen.astle@heart.org
214-706-1392
American Heart Association
18-Feb-2005


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