Despite the fact that symptomatic coronary disease afflicts men and women equally, only 33 percent of the 1.2 million interventional procedures conducted in the U.S. each year are done on women. The difference is at least partially the result of a belief by doctors that women do not respond as well to the treatments, but the Columbia University Medical Center study, published in today's Journal of the American College of Cardiology, shows that drug eluting stents are just as effective and safe in women as they are in men.
"The prevailing opinion has been that percutaneous coronary interventions including drug eluting stents are more dangerous in women and don't provide the same benefit, but our study shows that there is no scientific basis for this," said the study's principal investigator Alexandra Lansky, MD, associate professor and director of clinical services for interventional cardiology at Columbia University Medical Center and director of the Women's Health Initiative at the Cardiovascular Research Foundation. "There is no reason that women should be receiving this treatment less than men."
In patients with narrowing of arteries due to clogging, drug eluting stents can be safely used to treat the narrowing, with durable results and very low rates of recurrence and in some cases prevent subsequent heart attacks.
The study found that there is no difference in levels of restenosis with the use of drug eluting stents the angiographic measurement of how narrow the vessel becomes after treatment between women and men. And yet, contrary to previous reports, the study also showed that doctors re-intervene in female patients twice as often as in men.
Dr. Lansky says the higher re-intervention rate in women may be related to the fact that women have smaller ves
Contact: Craig LeMoult
Columbia University Medical Center