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Women wait longer for emergency heart treatment

they still found that women were slightly more likely to die before returning home.

"We need to do a better job in making sure that both men and women recognize and react to heart attack symptoms as quickly as possible, and that our emergency medical professionals before and in the hospital work to ensure immediate diagnosis and treatment," says Moscucci. "These delays result in worse outcomes, and there should be no gap between the genders."

Moscucci and his colleagues performed the study by looking at data from 442 women and 1.069 men who had an emergency angioplasty at one of the consortium's hospitals between October 2002 and June 1, 2004. All of the patients had the same kind of heart attack, called acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction.

The researchers wanted to see if there were still signs of the gender differences in emergency treatment that had been seen in the days before emergency angioplasty was widespread. They also wanted to see how delays affected in-hospital mortality.

In all, they found that only 25 percent of the female patients underwent emergency angioplasty within the recommended 90 minutes, as compared with 34 percent of men. The 90-minute window of opportunity is often called "door to balloon time" because it measures the time from the patient's arrival at the emergency department to the moment when a tiny balloon is inflated inside a clogged blood vessel to open it up.

During that "door to balloon time," patients must be diagnosed, transferred to the angioplasty area or to a hospital that can do emergency angioplasty, and prepped for the procedure.

Once a patient is ready, doctors insert a long thin tube called a catheter into a blood vessel in his or her groin, and carefully thread it up through the body into the blood vessels near the heart. They're guided by an X-ray imaging system that shows the catheter's progress. When they reach
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
9-Nov-2004


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