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Women's In-Hospital Survival Up for Heart Disease, Stroke

But outcomes vary widely by hospital, resulting in thousands of possibly preventable deaths

THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Between 2002 and 2004, women's in-hospital survival rates for heart disease and stroke improved by an average of 9.54 percent, and the best-performing hospitals had a 40 percent lower mortality rate than the poorest-performing hospitals, according to the Third Annual Report on Women's Health Outcomes in U.S. Hospitals study published June 26 by HealthGrades.

During the three-year study, researchers analyzed data on more than 2.1 million hospitalizations at more than 2,100 hospitals in 17 states, and analyzed outcomes in six procedures and diagnoses for each hospital's female patients: coronary bypass surgery, valve replacement surgery, percutaneous coronary interventions, acute myocardial infarction, heart failure and stroke.

The researchers observed the greatest improvement in the specific treatment for heart failure, which improved an average of 15.34 percent. They calculated that 30,548 additional women may have survived their hospitalization for heart disease and stroke if all hospitals had performed at the same level as the best-performing hospitals in the 17 states. When extrapolating this finding to the entire United States, they calculated that approximately 54,000 additional women may have survived.

"These astounding numbers underscore the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in women in the U.S. -- ranking number one (heart disease) and number three (stroke) leading cause of death," the authors conclude. "One can easily determine that small variations in outcomes can translate to a large number of potentially preventable deaths."

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