Women and Heart Bypass Surgery
A recent study has shown that women do less well than men after coronary artery bypass surgery. The study looked at 57,187 patients, 30 percent of them women, over a six-year period. Findings indicated that women under 50 were three times more likely to die than men. As women and men get older, the difference in survival rate decreases. Of patients who were 80 or older, 9 percent of women died, compared with 8.3 percent of men.
Study researchers couldn't explain for sure the higher mortality rate for women. One theory is that women in this age group have a more aggressive form of heart disease. Another possibility is that it's more difficult to perform bypass surgery on women because they have smaller arteries.
The study points out the need for women to be aware of their risk of heart disease early in life, and to have medical examinations specifically to detect the condition.
Circulation, 19 February 2002.