Battle of the sexes

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Kaitlyn Dmyterko - Portrait - 160.99 Kb
Kaitlyn Dmyterko, Associate Editor

Women are treated differently from men, that is, in certain instances in medicine. Perhaps the differences in anatomical structures contribute to the widened gender gap seen or it is something else. But the good news is that this chasm may be closing.

A study published March 7 found that the gender and racial divide in terms of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) may be narrowing after a significant increase in ICD therapy in all racial and sex groups was found. However, women may not be off the hook just yet, as the researchers noted that sex differences in ICD implantation still exist. In fact, Al-Khatib et al found that women were three times less likely to receive an ICD for primary prevention.

However, a meta-analysis this week showed that women fared better in terms of heart failure (HF). In fact, Martinez-Selles et al found that female patients with HF had a lower risk of death compared with men. The meta-analysis, which included more than 41,000 patients, showed men to have a higher mortality risk, even after the researchers excluded pharmacotherapy trials. Additionally, the mortality risk for men was seen whether or not they had a reduced or preserved ejection fraction.

Women still were at a lower risk of death compared with men, despite the fact that women were less likely to receive ACE inhibitors or ARBs. Therefore, the results were surprising.

Additionally, on the gender kick, a Circulation study found that the Reynolds Risk Score may better predict cardiovascular disease in women compared with the Framingham model. The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have recommended both the Reynolds and  Framingham risk scores as Class I within 2010 guidelines for the assessment of cardiovascular risk in adult patients.

After estimating the risk of the ATP-III score, Reynolds Risk Score and Framingham CVD model, the researchers found ATP-III and Framingham models to overestimate risk, concluding that Reynolds Risk Score measures may be most predictive.

What gender disparities have you encountered in practice? Email us and let us know.

Kaitlyn Dmyterko
Cardiovascular Business, associate editor